U.S. judge rules against tribes, Dakota pipeline free to continue
Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the tribes' request for an injunction to withdraw permission issued by the Army Corps for the last link of the oil pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
Energy Transfer Partners is building the $3.8 billion pipeline to move crude from the Northern Plains to the Midwest and then on to the Gulf of Mexico.
The denial of the injunction represents yet another setback to the tribes – the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux – that have been leading the charge against the line, which runs adjacent to tribal territory in southern North Dakota.
The tribes had argued that the pipeline would render water they use for religious ceremonies spiritually impure even if the pipeline goes under Lake Oahe.
They said the pipeline was reminiscent of an ancient prophesy of a Black Snake that would harm natives and that they could not use other water supplies in the region because they had been polluted by decades of mining.
Boasberg said in a written ruling that the Cheyenne tribe "remained silent as to the Black Snake prophesy and its concerns about oil in the pipeline under Lake Oahe" during two years of legal disputes against the line. ■