Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Responds to Oil in Dakota Access Pipeline

Construction crews have begun the tearing of earth near the Sacred Rock Spirit Camp, near Cannonball on the Standing Rock Reservation. Photo Credit: Joye Braun

Published March 28, 2017

EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA — Energy Transfer Partners announced Monday that oil was placed in the pipeline under the Missouri River. The announcement was made in a court document filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Here is statement released by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe distributed on Monday evening:

Today Dakota Access, LLC announced in a court filing that oil has been placed in the Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe, an action that is currently the subject of a lawsuit brought by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and other members of the Great Sioux Nation because it endangers waters the Tribes rely on for their very existence.    

Despite this development, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has yet to rule on a pair of motions challenging the legality of the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ authorization of the pipeline.  The Tribes allege that the Corps violated federal statutes, treaties, and its trust responsibility to the Tribes when it granted permission for the pipeline.  The Court is expected to hear and rule on those motions very soon.   

If the Tribes are successful on either of the motions now pending before the district court, the court can vacate the permits granted to the oil company and stop the flow of oil under Lake Oahe. 

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier explained the Tribe’s position: “My people are here today because we have survived in the face of the worst kind of challenges.  The fact that oil is flowing under our life-giving waters is a blow, but it hasn’t broken us.  Our legal fight is very much alive and we believe that ultimately we will prevail.” 

In addition to the claims now pending in the district court, the challenge under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is currently pending in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.   





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