A federal judge handed down a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota on Wednesday, ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving federal permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline.‘Huge Victory’ for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as Federal Court Rules DAPL Permits Violated Law. “This is what the tribe has been fighting for many months. Their fearless organizing continues to change the game.” by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, March 25, 2020.
The USACE must complete a full environmental impact study of the pipeline, including full consideration of concerns presented by the Standing Rock Tribe, the judge ruled. The tribe has asked the court to ultimately shut the pipeline down.
The Court ordered the Corps to prepare a full environmental impact statement on the pipeline, something that the Tribe has sought from the beginning of this controversy. The Court asked the parties to submit additional briefing on the question of whether to shut down the pipeline in the interim.STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE PREVAILS AS FEDERAL JUDGE STRIKES DOWN DAPL PERMITS, Victory: Decision cites risks of pipeline spills to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Earth Justice, March 25, 2020
“After years of commitment to defending our water and earth, we welcome this news of a significant legal win,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith. “It’s humbling to see how actions we took four years ago to defend our ancestral homeland continue to inspire national conversations about how our choices ultimately affect this planet. Perhaps in the wake of this court ruling the federal government will begin to catch on, too, starting by actually listening to us when we voice our concerns.”
“This validates everything the Tribe has been saying all along about the risk of oil spills to the people of Standing Rock,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman. “The Obama administration had it right when it moved to deny the permits in 2016, and this is the second time the Court has ruled that the government ran afoul of environmental laws when it permitted this pipeline. We will continue to see this through until DAPL has finally been shut down.”
In December of 2016, the Obama administration denied permits for DAPL to cross the Missouri River, and ordered a full environmental impact statement to analyze alternative pipeline routes and impacts on the Tribe’s treaty rights. Yet on his second day in office, Trump reversed that order, directing that permits be issued. Pipeline construction was completed by June of 2017.‘Huge Victory’ for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as Federal Court Rules DAPL Permits Violated Law. “This is what the tribe has been fighting for many months. Their fearless organizing continues to change the game.” by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, March 25, 2020.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe challenged the permits in court and won. The Court ruled then that the environmental analysis had been insufficient because it failed to account for consequences facing the Tribe, and ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to redo it. However, the judge declined to shut down the pipeline in the interim.
The massive 2016 gathering of Tribes and allies defending Standing Rock Sioux territory from DAPL captured the world’s attention and attracted international media coverage. It helped give rise to a global movement of indigenous resistance to fossil-fuel infrastructure projects.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Litigation on the Dakota Access Pipeline
The massive gathering of tribes and allies at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in 2016 brought international attention to the struggle to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (NoDAPL).
Many people all over the country and internationally worked in many different ways to bring attention to DAPL. Of course we know this most recent court order is not the end of the struggles. It is encouraging that the court asked both sides for submissions regarding shutting down the pipeline. An Iowa court case was heard in 2018 regarding the abuse of eminent domain to seize property for the pipeline in Iowa. We were hoping that might shut down the pipeline but the decision went against us.
My friend and fellow Quaker, Peter Clay, went to Standing Rock several times. Several friends I made during the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March also spent time at Standing Rock.
My friends Joshua Taflinger (who also went to Standing Rock) and Brandi Herron organized solidarity gatherings, and our campaign to defund the DAPL by closing accounts with two of the banks invested in the pipeline, CHASE and PNC Bank. The Quaker meeting I attended in Indianapolis, North Meadow Circle of Friends, closed their CHASE bank account.
My friends Ra Wyse and Aghilah Nadaraj from the Kheprw Institute and I created the following video to help make others aware of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Indianapolis..