Judge OKs partial stop on North Dakota pipeline

An American Indian tribe succeeded in obtaining a temporary stop of construction on some, but not all, of a portion of a $3.8 billion oil pipeline, but their broader request still hangs in the balance. The pipeline's lawyers would not comment. (Sept. 6) A

NORTH DAKOTA - A federal judge issued a partial approval for a temporary restraining order halting part of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota after an emergency motion was filed on Saturday.

According to the order, work east of Lake Oahe must stop until Friday when a decision on a preliminary injunction is expected. Work on the west may continue.

Related: Charges planned against Jill Stein from pipeline protest

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in August, arguing that it did not fully investigate the effects of the pipeline. Oregon's Grand Ronde tribe joined other Pacific Northwest tribes and passed a resolution supporting the Standing Rock tribe on Aug. 31. A $2,500 donation was also sent on the tribe's behalf and several members of the tribe are currently protesting the pipeline in North Dakota.

Photos: North Dakota pipeline protest

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On Saturday, the Sioux tribe filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order to halt construction in a 20-mile radius around Lake Oahe until a decision is issued on the original suit. The motion argued that Dakota Access and an associated company responsible for the construction of the pipeline bulldozed areas outlined in a filing the tribe submitted to the courts 24 hours prior. Tuesday's ruling did not halt construction for the entire requested 20 acres.

"The tribe has been seeking to vindicate its rights peacefully through the courts. But Dakota Access Pipeline used evidence submitted to the court as their road map for what to bulldoze. That's just wrong," said Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earthjustice, the law firm representing the tribe.

Related: Tribe: Cultural sites found in path of proposed oil pipeline

The Army Corps responded to the filing by saying it acknowledged, "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." It said it would not oppose a "short and discrete" temporary restraining order.

Tribes from more than 20 states have sent letters of support, supplies and representatives to North Dakota to join the protest of the pipeline, including several tribes from the Pacific Northwest. Reports of the protests turning violent went viral over the holiday weekend. The local sheriff reported three private security guards sustained injuries and protesters said several people had been injured by dogs.

Grand Ronde tribal council secretary Cheryle Kennedy said Grand Ronde was monitoring the situation in North Dakota but did not have any plans to extend further assistance.

"We send a prayer to all the people there because if something goes awry, it won't be just be the Native Americans who are affected, it will be everyone in the area that depends on that water," she said.

Related: Oil pipeline protesters disrupt second construction site

Salem 350, a local environmental group, is planning to hold an event Wednesday to "stand in solidarity" with the Sioux tribe.

Organizer Laurie Dougherty said the group is responding to the Standing Rock tribe's request for acts of solidarity between Sept. 3 and Sept. 17. The group will be holding signs on the Marion Street Bridge beginning at 5 p.m.

"We should care about what's happening in North Dakota because the climate effects all of us," she said. "We should care about our fellow human begins and the treaties these tribes have should be honored."

Speaking on Tuesday's ruling, tribal chairman David Archambault II said he was disappointed by the court's decision.

"Today's denial of a temporary restraining order against the Dakota Access Pipeline west of Lake Oahe puts my people's sacred places at further risk of ruin and desecration," he said in a statement.

A media representative for Dakota Access could not reached for comment.

(Copyright 2016 Gannett Co. Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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