Court Denies Tribal Effort to Shut Down Energy Pipeline

AP Photo

Amid violent protests and vandalism from a presidential candidate, a Native American tribe has lost a court battle to block the construction of a new energy pipeline.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington, D.C. denied the Standing Rock Sioux’s request to place a temporary injunction on a Dallas-based company’s effort to build an energy pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois over concerns that sacred lands and water supplies may be impacted, according to the Associated Press.

At issue was whether Energy Transfer Partners’ permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct a line that crossed “more than 200” waterways violated the National Historic Preservation Act and other environmental regulations concerning potable water supplies. Non-specific allegations of gravesites being violated during construction have also been levelled.

Weighing the federal government’s history with the particular tribe, Judge Boasberg still found the necessity of an injunction lacking at this time.

“This Court does not lightly countenance any depredation of lands that hold significance to the Standing Rock Sioux … the Court scrutinizes the permitting process here with particular care. Having done so, the Court must nonetheless conclude that the Tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here,” Boasberg wrote.

Earthjustice, the group representing the tribe, promises a lengthy court battle, according to the AP.

“We will have to pursue our options with an appeal and hope that construction isn’t completed while that (appeal) process is going forward … We will continue to pursue vindication of the tribe’s lawful rights even if the pipeline is complete.”

The Dakota Access pipeline has served as a flashpoint for increasingly violent environmental activism that, according to Breitbart Texas’ reporting, has mushroomed from a sleepy, sit-in protest from spring 2016.

Breitbart Texas recently reported that Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein now faces criminal charges for her part in a protest action that left multiple construction vehicles at the North Dakota construction site vandalized:

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier of North Dakota announced Tuesday his office’s intention to file charges against Jill Stein and others for spray-painting bulldozers and other equipment being operated by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners. Though not currently incarcerated, Kirchmeier said he is “working up the information through the state’s attorney’s office to pursue charges (against Stein),” according to the Bismarck Tribune.

Stein’s official campaign Twitter account confirms and promoted the act, Tuesday.

Morton County reports that the incident occurred at or around 10:30 A.M. Tuesday where protesters numbered up to 300, according to the 25 first responders to arrive on the scene. Agitators were reportedly on horseback, wearing masks and carrying hatchets in some cases. No arrests were made at the time.

To maintain the growing crowds of protesters–often armed–local law enforcement put out calls for additional assistance from other jurisdictions in preparation for the court ruling, according to a separate AP report.

The direct action effort inspired national headlines over Labor Day weekend when protesters clashed with unarmed private security guards on the construction site, according to Breitbart Texas:

Various videos and local reports have confirmed that “hundreds” of Native American protesters and supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux turned violent at a construction site under the management of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners near Cannon Ball, ND. The Associated Press reported that four private security guards and two dogs were injured in the incident as a result, according to the Morton County Sherriff’s Office. Though protesters have asserted through a variety of mediums that they were the ones first attacked, many of their own videos purport to show the opposite occurred.

A spokesperson for the Dallas pipeline company told the AP that violence first began when protesters breached a fenced security perimeter and “attacked” the construction crew on the site. Videos uploaded by protesters and supportive media purport to show that the few private security guards were armed only with radios, pepper spray and leashed dogs while unidentifiable objects were hurled at them.

Breitbart Texas originally reported on the modest protest in April 2016.

The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline Project, spearheaded by the north Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, L.P., would span from the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas 1,168 miles through South Dakota and Iowa to Patoka, Illinois, for further domestic refining and distribution. The 30-inch diameter pipe is advertised to transport roughly 450,000 barrels of crude per day, with a max estimated capacity of 570,000. The Dallas company projects that barring any long-term regulatory snags, the $3.8 billion project could be fully operational by fourth quarter 2016.

Logan Churchwell is the Assistant Editor and a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. You can follow him on Twitter @LCChurchwell.


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