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Army Corps Doesn't Oppose Temporary Halt To Dakota Access Pipeline

Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota.
James MacPherson
Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it does not oppose the temporary halt of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.8 billion oil pipeline slated to run through four states, including North Dakota.

As we've reported, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposes the pipeline because it fears it could disturb sacred sites and affect the drinking water.

Earlier this summer, the tribe filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing that the Army Corps did not follow proper procedure when it gave Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners the go ahead to build the pipeline.

Over the weekend, the tribe filed an emergency motion asking the court to halt construction of the pipeline. In one filing, Tim Mentz Sr., who helped start the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Tribal Historic Preservation Office, said bulldozers had likely dug through burial grounds with little regard and without allowing members of the tribe a chance to look for human remains.

The Army Corps replied saying it did not oppose a temporary halt to construction.

The Corps said it was comfortable with the process it followed when it permitted the project in first place and that the tribe was unlikely to succeed with its lawsuit.

Still, it acknowledged the confrontations that have occurred between private security officers at the construction site and protesters. (As we reported, one demonstration over the weekend turned violent. Some protesters ended up bloodied and the local sheriff said three private security officers had been hurt.)

"The Corps acknowledges that the public interest would be served by preserving peace near Lake Oahe until the Court can render its well-considered opinion on Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction," the Corps said. "The Corps therefore does not oppose this short and discrete temporary restraining order."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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