U.S. District Judge James Boasberg has rejected the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe’s request to halt the last section of the Dakota Access pipeline.
As they have before, the tribe argued the pipeline’s construction would lead to the desecration of their sacred lands and water. Since it would be built under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, the tribe argued it would interfere with their religious practices.
But Judge Boasberg dismissed those claims.
Dakota Access, the company behind the construction of the pipeline, had already “modified the pipeline workspace and route more than a hundred times in response to cultural surveys and tribes’ concerns regarding historic and cultural resources," Boasberg wrote, as reported by RT, adding that rerouting the pipeline “would be more costly and complicated than it would have been months or years ago.”
This ruling means the US$3.8 billion, 1,170-mile pipeline is slated to be finished.
“It is simply unacceptable that the government is allowing Energy Transfer Partners to build this pipeline through our sacred lands. The water the pipeline threatens supplies the Lakota and more than 17 million other people downstream,” said Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota People’s Law Project Lead Counsel in a statement, on the decision.
“The latest court ruling against my people is unjust and unacceptable. But I am here to tell you, this fight is not over and we will not surrender. Several steps remain in the legal process,” he continued.
“On March 10, Native Nations and water protectors from around the country will converge in Washington, D.C. to let the president, Judge Boasberg and the army know that they are accomplices to a dangerous, criminal corporation. If there is a spill, they will have oil and blood on their hands, and we will not let them forget it.”
That demonstration in Washington began Tuesday, with tribal members and supporters planning to camp each day on the National Mall, set to bring along teepees, light a ceremonial fire and hold cultural workshops. In the four days of protest, Indigenous leaders also plan to lobby lawmakers to protect tribal rights.
The protest will culminate in a two-mile march from the Army Corps of Engineers office to the White House, where a rally is scheduled for Friday.