Update: Federal Judge Rules On Request To Halt Dakota Access Pipeline Construction

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.
Update: A federal judge refused the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request to halt construction on the Dakota Access pipeline on Friday afternoon, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled against the request for a temporary injunction without giving an explanation. A conference is ordered for September 16, in which the parties must appear.

A attorney for Earthjustice, the environmental group who filed the suit on behalf of the tribe, said before the ruling that they planned to continue with appeals.
This story was originally published on September 5, 2016.

Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline became violent over the weekend, reports NPR. Hundreds of demonstrators supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe faced off against private security officers from Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.

Tribal leaders say the protests escalated after construction crews destroyed American Indian burial and cultural sites on private land, reports The Associated Press. Video from Democracy Now! shows security officers threatening demonstrators with dogs and using pepper spray.

Morton County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donnell Preskey said four private security guards and two guard dogs were injured. Tribe spokesman Steve Sitting Bear told the AP that protesters reported that six people had been bitten by security dogs, including a young child, while at least 30 people had been pepper-sprayed.

Ahead, a breakdown of the key players and the conflict in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Plus, a look at the court decision that could determine its future.

What Is The Dakota Access Pipeline?

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a four-state long, $3.8 billion oil pipeline that will cross the Missouri River. If completed, the Dakota Access Pipeline will run almost 1,172 miles and deliver 570,000 barrels of crude oil each day from the Bakken/Three Forks formations in North Dakota to facilities in Illinois. It would run through private land, except when it crosses bodies of waters.

Who Wants To Build It?

Dakota Access, the pipeline project's developer, is a subsidiary of the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company, LLC. It says the pipeline would help the United States become less dependent on importing energy. It also estimates the pipeline would bring an estimated $156 million in sales and income taxes to state and local governments.

Who's Protesting?

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has contested the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The tribe filed a complaint in federal court alleging that the pipeline could disturb sacred American Indian sites and affect the reservation's drinking water.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is a federally recognized Indian tribe and a successor to the Great Sioux Nation. Since asking the courts for an injunction, other Native American tribes have joined in the efforts to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In addition to the Native American tribes, 30 environmental groups — like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club — have signed a letter sent to President Obama asking him to reject the project. For the record, Obama rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline project in November 2015.

Rallies to "protect, not protest" have been held in both North Dakota and in Washington, D.C. Celebrities, like Shailene Woodley and Rosario Dawson, have joined rallies in protest. Others, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, have publicly praised the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for its efforts.

What Are Politicians Saying?

As of September 2016, the only presidential candidate that has spoken about the Dakota Access Pipeline is Sen. Bernie Sanders — since as far back as November 2015. Sanders supported the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Candidates Clinton and Trump have not spoken out about the pipeline. CNN ran an op-ed by Simon Moya-Smith, a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation, in which he calls on Clinton to support the tribe and speak out on the issue.

What Happens Next?

The tribe filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers on July 27 to stop the pipeline, alleging that the tribe was not consulted and highlighting the danger posed to cultural sites and drinking water.

Judge James E. Boasberg from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia said that he will make a decision about the Dakota Access Pipeline on or before September 9.

Until then, the tribe released a statement saying that it filed "an emergency motion Sunday for a temporary restraining order to prevent further destruction of the Tribe’s sacred sites by Dakota Access Pipeline."

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