A judge ruled against an American Indian tribe Tuesday that is trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline based on its belief the project would violate its religious heritage.
Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the Cheyenne River Sioux’s request to scuttle the southern route of the oil pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The project will shuttle 500,000 barrels of Bakken oil from the Dakotas to parts of Illinois
Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the project, has already “modified the pipeline workspace and route more than a hundred times in response to cultural surveys and Tribes’ concerns regarding historic and cultural resources,” Boasberg wrote in an opinion.
Boasberg was referring to the analysis that went into an environmental impact assessment the Army Corps of Engineers conducted prior to approving the so-called DAPL. He added that rerouting the project around the lake “would be more costly and complicated than it would have been months or years-ago.”
The judge’s decision places another seemingly insurmountable hurdle in front of anti-DAPL activists who argue the $3.8 billion project would trample on tribal grounds and potentially poison the Standing Rock Sioux’s primary water supply.
ETP expects to bring the nearly 1,200-mile-long pipeline online by March 13.
Opposition to the pipeline died down shortly after the Obama administration rejected the hotly contested pipeline route – but DAPL opponents were re-energized after President Donald Trump overturned his predecessor’s order.
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