Following several years of legal wrangling and indecision from the Obama administration, the Army Corps of Engineers issued permits to allow work to continue on the Dakota Access Pipeline on Wednesday over the objections of environmental activists and the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes.
Citing a “national interest” in a Jan. 24 presidential memorandum, President Trump authorized the Corps of Engineers to review the matter and take appropriate steps to approve permits for construction of the 1,170-mile pipeline to continue.
An attorney with Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the firm which has overseen work on DAPL, expected work to be completed in two months and oil flowing with 80 days of completion of the $3.8 billion project.
At issue is a section of pipeline, approximately 1.25 miles of the pipeline route, which the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes claim will threaten Indian drinking water drawn from the Missouri River.
Immediately after the Corps of Engineers consented for work to resume, both tribes filed an temporary injunction, and added a legal dispute of freedom of religion to the existing claim the pipeline threatens tribal water sources and cultural sites.
Attorneys for Energy Transfer Partners countered in court, asserting the tribes grounds for the injunction were rooted both in delay tactics and unrelated to construction.
On Monday, the courts agreed with Energy Transfer Partners: U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled construction on the pipeline could continue in consideration of the fact there was no immediate danger to the tribes since no oil was flowing through the line.
The subject of heated protests, DAPL runs along existing utility lines and of the 1,170-mile route, only three percent of the line required federal approval. Further, the pipeline was re-routed 140 times to avoid conflict with sacred tribal land.
[The Hill] [AP] [Photo courtesy Ring of Fire Network]