#NoDAPL demonstrators in Washington, D.C. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert
Latest chapter in legal battle against DAPL coincides with pipeline operator’s bid to double pipeline capacity
WASHINGTON — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s continuing legal battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline advanced on Friday with a motion for summary judgment filed in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.
The Tribe’s brief recounts the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ failure to meaningfully respond to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s concerns throughout the remand process, in violation of federal environmental law. The Corps completely shut the Tribe out of the process, refusing to share technical information prepared by DAPL, and ignored extensive technical input from the Tribe showing that DAPL’s estimates of an oil spill risk were gravely underestimated.
Today the Tribe asks the Court to vacate an easement that was granted to allow pipeline construction. This would effectively halt Dakota Access Pipeline operations while the Corps conducted a full-fledged environmental review.
At the same time, the Tribe is gearing up to respond to a new proposal by Dakota Access LLC to double the flow of oil through the pipeline from 570,000 to 1.1 million barrels per day, with the construction of new pumping facilities. Doubling the pipeline capacity would dramatically increase risks to the Tribe, which continue to go unexamined by the Corps. The Tribe has requested that the North Dakota Public Service Commission hold a public hearing on the expansion.
“The remand was insincere,” said Mike Faith, Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “The Corps ignored the Tribe’s concerns and worked with DAPL to justify a foregone decision. This illegal and dangerous pipeline must be shut down.”
The motion for summary judgment was filed on behalf of the Tribe by the environmental law firm Earthjustice. “This is a company under criminal investigation for negligence – it should not be allowed to operate a food truck, let alone a major crude oil pipeline,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman.