North Dakota — The parent company of Dakota Access LLC, the corporation behind the construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, has filed a motion in federal court to speed up the approval process of its plans for the pipeline to cross the Missouri River. Energy Transfer Partners issued its call for “declaratory relief” on Tuesday in Washington D.C.
The pipeline’s path goes through Army Corps of Engineer land, which is under federal jurisdiction. This area is the site of contention between Native American “water protectors,” Dakota Access LLC, and militarized law enforcement.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been protesting the pipeline because they say it threatens the water supply of the tribe and millions of other Americans. They also assert it infringes on the tribe’s historical, sacred, and treaty lands. Thousands of allies have joined the Standing Rock tribe in their use of civil disobedience to physically stop the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction.
According to court documents, as noted by the Associated Press, the pipeline builders admit delays caused by protests have already cost Energy Transfer Partners $100 million, claiming “further delay in the consideration of this case would add millions of dollars more each month in costs which cannot be recovered.”
Opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline grew into a global movement after protests took place in 200 cities around the world on Tuesday.
Energy Transfer Partners is urging the Army Corps of Engineers to finalize its approval of an easement granting construction of the pipeline to cross the Missouri River. The decision was delayed following the protests and subsequent massive outpouring of public support for the Standing Rock Sioux.
Energy Transfer Partners’ argument hinges on private property rights, saying the pipeline runs through land they secured legitimately. They claim protesters have no right to trespass in their efforts to stop its construction. Ironically, however, securing the path for the Dakota Access Pipeline relied heavily on the use of eminent domain, which violated the property rights of many landowners who refused to allow their land to be used for the pipeline.
In response to the federal court filing, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair Dave Archambault said:
“Dakota Access is so desperate to get this project in the ground that it is now suing the federal government on the novel theory that it doesn’t need an easement to cross federal lands. They are wrong and the lawsuit will not succeed. We are looking forward to discussing the easement with the Administration and explaining why it must be denied.”
Meanwhile, Native American opposition to the pipeline at the Sacred Stone Camp near Cannonball, North Dakota, has begun to dig in for the winter — and it appears the blockade of the Dakota Access Pipeline will continue regardless of the court’s decision.
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