Skip to main content

Judge strikes down Sioux tribe's lawsuit to stop a North Dakota pipeline

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A federal judge denied a Sioux tribe's request to halt work on a North Dakota area pipeline.

That's according to the ruling that was made Friday afternoon.

The Standing Rock Sioux had filed a lawsuit over the $3.8 billion oil pipeline saying a permit has been issued for the pipeline to cross rivers without a full review. They argued the pipeline – which runs within half a mile of their reservation – is a threat to their Missouri River water supply and might destroy sites of cultural and historical significance.

However, the courts ruled in favor of the pipeline, saying there's not enough evidence for the tribe's claims.

The reasoning

The ruling says "that the Tribe has not shown it will suffer injury that would be prevented by any injunction the Court could issue."

It also notes that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers appears to have complied with the National Historic Preservation Act, which protects historic sites.

"This Court does not lightly countenance any depredation of lands that hold significance to the Standing Rock Sioux," the ruling states. "The Court scrutinizes the permitting process here with particular care."

Officials ask the company to pause anyway

However, the Department of Justice issued a joint statement with the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior on Friday.

It says that they're requesting the pipeline company – Energy Transfer Partners – "voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe."

That's so authorities can evaluate some federal laws to figure out whether any previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site need to be changed.

Prior to the ruling, the tribe posted to Facebook saying they will "continue to stand united and peaceful in our opposition to the pipeline," regardless of the decision.

"We will continue to explore every lawful option and fight against the construction of the pipeline," tribal chairman David Archambault II said in a statement.

A peace rally at the state capitol

A peace rally was started at the state capitol shortly after the announcement and is being broadcast live here.

Native Americans and activists have been protesting the construction of a $3.8 billion oil pipeline, which would run between the Bakken oil fields and Illinois. Proponents of the pipeline say it will reduce the amount of oil that needs to be transported by truck or train.

The Bismarck Tribune reported the North Dakota National Guard was put on alert ahead of Friday's decision by the judge.

The protests started last month and there have been dozens of arrests since. In fact, the protests have been called the largest gathering of Native Americans in modern times.

Last weekend, things turned violent there when security guards clashed with demonstrators.

Tribe spokesman Steve Sitting Bear told CBS that six people had been bitten by security dogs, including a young child, and at least 30 people were pepper-sprayed by the private guards. Meanwhile the authorities said it had received no reports of protesters being injured.

Next Up


17-year-old girl killed in southern Minnesota crash

The crash happened early Thursday morning near Lake Crystal.

Tim Gannon

Ex-Brooklyn Center police chief sues city over resignation

Tim Gannon alleges he was forced to resign following the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.

boat, boating, lake

Men injured after boat crash sends propeller spinning onto craft

The motor reportedly flew out of the water and severely injured two men on the boat.


Officials investigating possible spill near Enbridge pipeline in Wisconsin

It comes as another water spill is being reported at Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota.


Lightning strike outside White House kills Wisconsin couple

The bolt of lightning was captured on video by a local TV camera.


NASCAR star Kyle Busch flees Mall of America after shooting

Busch was at the megamall with his wife and son when a gunman opened fire Thursday.


Triple-fatal crash involving car full of Missourians in Minnesota

Four people from Missouri were in a vehicle that collided with a semi.

Screen Shot 2022-08-03 at 7.58.19 AM

Teen charged with murder of 15-year-old at light rail station

The victim died from a gunshot wound to the chest following the shooting Tuesday.

Depressaria depressana

Invasive moth flying around Minnesota for first time

The little bugger was confirmed in Wisconsin in 2018 and Iowa in 2020.

Screen Shot 2022-08-04 at 4.49.39 PM

Police update MOA shooting: Search for 2 suspects ongoing

Three shots were fired at the Nike store inside the Mall of America.


People around the world will be protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline today

Demonstrations will be held around the world Tuesday as activists continue to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. The hope is that this global movement will put pressure on federal officials to revoke the permits for the pipeline.

Construction of the protested North Dakota pipeline will sort of get to go on

Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline will resume after a temporary halt was thrown out by a court of appeals.

The protested North Dakota pipeline will be blocked for (at least) a bit longer

The possibility of letting the pipeline company drill underneath Lake Oahe has been under review.

It was mostly peaceful at the North Dakota pipeline protests this weekend

After a tense week, protestors remained peaceful – but it doesn't mean they're backing down.

St. Paul stands with Sioux tribe in pipeline protest

Hundreds of people rallied in St. Paul to support the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota.