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American Indians Challenge Dakota Access Pipeline In Court


A tribe of American Indians, the Standing Rock Sioux, allege that the Dakota Access pipeline, a proposed oil pipeline planned to be built across four states, endangers the water supply in the region, violates multiple federal laws, and threatens ancient sacred sites just outside of the tribe’s reservation.

Their case against the Army Corps of Engineers building the pipeline states that the engineers failed to properly consult with tribal members, something required under the National Historic Preservation Act, and that using a streamlined permit process to review the project should not have happened. A judge is expected to rule on whether or not to block the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline’s construction on Friday, September 9.

While experts aren’t convinced that the case against the project will be successful in entirely halting construction, recent cases may support their position. Just this year, a gas and oil lease in northwest Montana was cancelled by federal officials after Canadian and United States Blackfoot tribes argued that the project would disturb a sacred area. Another project, a $700 million proposed coal-export terminal intended to be constructed in Washington state, was rejected by the Army Corps of Engineers after regulators recognized that the project violated the fishing rights of the Lummi tribe protected by the National Historic Preservation Act.

However the judge rules on Friday, both sides appear ready to file an appeal that will at the very least delay the project even further. In an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer, Domina Law Group’s Brian Jorde said:

<blockquote> “Delays are often critical elements to victory. It's a death by a thousand cuts. If there are so many delays and frustration on the overall project, you have a better chance of it not going through.” </blockquote>

Brian was an instrumental part of the team that fought back against the construction of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline that was rejected by President Barack Obama in November of 2015. Brian was also one of 70 or so private property rights activists and environmentalists who attended a conference earlier this year to discuss strategies that can be used to fight back against the growing use of eminent domain laws used by energy companies in order to build pipelines on private property across the United States.

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