A judge temporarily halted construction on a portion of the controversial $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline as he took under advisement the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s challenge regarding the decision of federal regulators to grant pipeline permits to Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.
Protestors contend the proposed pipeline will contaminate drinking water supplies on the reservation and destroy sacred historic and cultural sites.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg denied an emergency request for a restraining order filed by the tribe. Construction will stop between North Dakota’s State Highway 1806 and 20 miles east of Lake Oahe but is expected to continue west of the highway because the judge believes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lacks jurisdiction on private land.
The proposed pipeline would transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois. The oil would be sent further to markets and refineries in the Midwest, East Coast and Gulf Coast regions.
The action follows widespread media accounts of six demonstrators who were viciously attacked by security forces armed with pepper spray and guard dogs hired by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.
“We are disappointed that the U.S. District Court’s decision does not prevent DAPL from destroying our sacred sites as we await a ruling on our original motion to stop construction of the pipeline,” said David Archambault II, Standing Rock Sioux chairman, in a prepared statement.
Judge Boasberg is expected to render a decision on Friday afternoon regarding the tribe’s permit challenge.