Last week we went to court on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protect their ancestral lands from the destructive crude oil pipeline known as the Dakota Access Pipeline.
A decision on this case will be made by September 9.
The Dakota Access Pipeline project, also known as Bakken Oil Pipeline, would extend 1,168 miles across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, crossing through communities, farms, tribal land, sensitive natural areas and wildlife habitat. The pipeline would carry crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois where it would link up with another pipeline that would transport the oil to terminals and refineries along the Gulf of Mexico.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is worried the pipeline will destroy sacred sites and culturally important landscapes. They are especially concerned about the pipeline crossing to be built under the Missouri River just upstream from the reservation, threatening the Tribe’s drinking water supply. An oil spill at this site would devastate the Tribe’s culture and way of life.
Last month, on behalf of the Tribe, we filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for issuing a permit for the pipeline construction in violation of the National Historic Preservation Act and other laws.
The complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, notes the extensive effort by the Tribe to communicate concerns to the Corps—and how those concerns were completely ignored.
Rather than issuing an individual permit and conducting necessary reviews of the potential impacts to the environment and to historic, religious and cultural sites, the Corps authorized this construction under a general nationwide permit that is only appropriate for projects that “will cause only minimal adverse environmental effects.”
Despite objections, construction of the pipeline has already begun. We are hoping to halt construction until the project can be properly reviewed. By September 9, the judge in the case will issue a decision.
As the lead attorney on the fight, I promise to keep you updated as we learn more.
Until then, please call 202-456-1111 and tell President Obama that you stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and their lawsuit to protect their homeland from the destructive Dakota Access Pipeline.
Thank you for joining us in this and other critical fights.
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