By September 9, 2016 Read More →

Dakota Access Pipeline ruling expected soon from U.S. judge

Dakota Access Pipeline

The National Guard has been called in in anticipation of the judge’s decision on the Dakota Access Pipeline. photo.

Dakota Access Pipeline opposed by nearby Native American tribes

By Ruthy Munoz

WASHINGTON, Sept 9 (Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge is expected to rule on Friday on whether to halt construction of a the Dakota Access Pipeline that is opposed by Native Americans who say it would pollute nearby rivers and desecrate their sacred land.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Tuesday partly granted a restraining order sought by Native American tribes against the company building the pipeline. Over the weekend, protests at the construction site turned violent.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault said on Tuesday he was “disappointed” by Boasberg’s ruling, which halted construction of the pipeline in some, but not all parts of North Dakota, where the tribes say they have sacred sites.

The $3.7 billion, 1,100-mile (1,770 km) Dakota Access pipeline would be the first to allow movement of crude oil from the Bakken shale, a vast oil formation in North Dakota, Montana and parts of Canada. The group of companies building the pipeline is led by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP through its Dakota Access subsidiary.

It would carry oil from just north of land owned by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to Illinois, where it would connect with an existing pipeline and route crude directly to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Over the weekend, prior to the temporary halt, a clash between tribal members, other protesters and security guards resulted in an altercation with security dogs biting people.

On Thursday, a handful of U.S. lawmakers wrote to President Barack Obama about the matter, calling on the administration to intervene in the recent escalation of violence. “We oppose and condemn unjustified violence against protestors in the strongest possible terms,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Obama.

North Dakota’s governor has activated 100 National Guard troops in anticipation of the expected ruling by the judge.

The head of a group of tribal leaders in the Dakotas and Nebraska said her group asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to send federal monitors to the protest site. A. Gay Kingman, executive director of the group, said she was told by the Justice Department that monitors were already present at the site. The department did not respond to requests for comment.

(Additional reporting by Julia Harte in Washington and Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Matthew Lewis)

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