The company hoping to build an oil pipeline through part of North Dakota despite massive protests will get to start up construction again. Mostly.
Texas company Energy Transfer Partners has been trying to build the $3.8 billion dollar pipeline – which would stretch 1,172 miles and brush up against a North Dakota reservation as well as the Missouri River, the tribe's water supply – for months, despite numerous protests. The tribe's reservation is a less than a mile away from the pipeline's route.
In September, the court ordered work within 20 miles of Lake Oahe be temporarily halted while they figured out if work should be permanently shut down, Bloomberg reported. That decision came after the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe asked for an emergency injunction, claiming the work would damage sacred land.
On Sunday night, that same court (the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit) issued its final verdict – with the two-page ruling saying the tribe didn't provide enough persuasive proof for the court to stop things. The ruling did seem to acknowledge the tribe's struggle though, calling the standard required "narrow and stringent," and noting: "ours is not the final word."
But shortly after the ruling, the Army Corps, the Justice Department and the Interior Department said in a joint statement they're still not ready to give the full go-ahead for construction work to start on any federal land along the route, the Associated Press reported. The agencies also again asked the pipeline company to voluntarily halt work on any private land while they consider their decision, which could be weeks away.
Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault told NBC News they will continue to fight against the pipeline construction, even after the decision on Sunday.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Facebook page posted a more in-depth reaction to the court's decision.
Yesterdays court ruling is a disappointment but it is in no way the end of our fight to protect our land, waters, people...
Energy Transfer Partners says the pipeline will transfer US-produced oil in a less expensive and environmentally safer way. The company also says it plans to restore any land that is affected.
The protests have been called the largest Native American gathering in over 100 years. Thousands of people have joined in the protests, which turned violent at one point when a private security company came on site to try and stop the protesters. Other cities, including St. Paul, have held rallies in solidarity.
On Monday 27 protesters were arrested near Standing Rock, The Guardian reports.