U.S. judge to rule on Dakota Access Pipeline easement in early March

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By Timothy Gardner

<span class="articleLocation”>A U.S. judge said on Tuesday he hopes to decide
by about March 7 on a request by Native American tribes for the
Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw an easement on religious
grounds for the final link of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

At a hearing Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. Court in
Washington, D.C., said he hoped to provide a written ruling by
that time on the injunction requested by the Standing Rock Sioux
and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes regarding the final section of
the line to go under a lake in North Dakota.

Boasberg said if Energy Transfer Partners, the
company building the $3.8 billion line, expects the project will
be completed and oil will flow before March 7, that the company
must give him 48 hours notice so he can release his ruling.

The tribes, who have rights to water access in the area, say
that the oil pipeline would spiritually degrade river and lake
water and harm religious practices even if it does not spill.

Their legal options to stop the pipeline are dwindling.

Earlier this month, Boasberg denied a request by the tribes
for a temporary restraining order to halt construction of the
project.

Boasberg on Tuesday questioned how the water could be harmed
since the pipeline is being built under the Lake Oahe and oil
would not likely touch the water in the event of a spill.

Nicole Ducheneaux, a lawyer for the tribes, said at the
hearing that the pipeline would spiritually degrade the water on
the Missouri River because of its presence and that would
prevent tribes from carrying out ceremonies because other nearby
water sources had been contaminated from decades of mining.



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