Federal Appeals Court Halts Dakota Access Segment as Solidarity Protests Spread Nationwide*
A federal appeals court ruled to temporarily halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline taking place within a 20-mile radius of Lake Oahe (near the Missouri river) on Saturday, September 17. Federal judge James Boasberg had previously ruled to allow construction in the Lake Oahe area, but minutes after his ruling, the federal government stepped in and asked Energy Transfer Partners to voluntarily cease construction in this area.
Construction within 20 miles of Lake Oahe seemed to have already stopped after the federal government’s request, but now it is legally halted, albeit temporarily, by a court order. A panel of three judges on the D.C. Circuit of Appeals ordered that all construction within 20 miles of Lake Oahe cease for the time being “to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for injunction pending appeal.”
Read the one-page DC Appeals Court ruling below:
Download PDF here.
The news website Indianz.com warned that the DC appeals court is already split on the matter, due to a Bush appointee:
“Of the three judges who have been assigned to hear the appeal, one of them was against granting the administrative injunction, according to the clerk’s order. That judge is Janice Rogers Brown, who was nominated to the D.C. Circuit by former president George W. Bush. Within three years of joining the court, she generated a strong anti-tribal record, according to a 2008 review of her writings by Indianz.Com.
The other two judges on the case are Thomas B. Griffith, another Bush nominee, and Cornelia T.L. Pillard, who was nominated by President Barack Obama and is relatively new to the D.C. Circuit. She was part of the panel that gave the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington a significant victory in its land-into-trust case.”
While construction in the area of Lake Oahe has already been stopped before Friday’s appeals court ruling, construction outside of this area has been continuing in full force.
Energy Transfer Partners is aggressively seeking to complete construction of as much of the Dakota Access Pipeline as soon as possible and are committed to its completion, according to a statement from CEO Kelcy Warren.
We documented ongoing Dakota Access construction in a video report earlier this week:
Today people returned to the site of where water protectors were attacked by dogs controlled by security contractors – an incident for which no dog handler has yet been charged.
The same day, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a Special Use Permit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe “to use Federal lands managed by the Corps near Lake Oahe.”
According to the Army they granted a special use permit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for them to use Army Corps land but only south of the Cannonball River. The Corps made it clear that all land north of the Cannonball, including the area containing the overflow camps, does not fall under this permit, the Army said, due to the land already being covered by a cattle grazing lease.
Friday also saw a march and rally against the pipeline held by water protectors and allies in the city of Bismarck.
Following a wave of solidarity actions earlier this week, demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline continued across the country on Friday and Saturday in the NoDAPL solidarity week of action.
Protesters took the fight directly to the banks pushing the pipeline. In Chicago, a zine has been released and protesters occupied a CitiBank. In Washington DC a TD Bank was shut down. (Also, in recent weeks livestreamer UnToldCarlisle has been covering protests and press statements around DC court hearings closely).
While many progressive groups have joined the opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, the AFL-CIO and its president Richard Trumka announced this week it is backing big oil and banks to protect temporary construction jobs. On the other hand, the 700,000 member Communications Workers of America (CWA) union announced support for the Standing Rock tribe.