On Tuesday, US district court judge James Boasberg temporarily stopped construction by Energy Transfer Partners on a portion of the Bakken pipeline stating that the U.S. army corps of engineers lacks jurisdiction on private tribal land.
The brief reprieve, which only affects a specific portion between North Dakota’s state highway 1806 and a spot about 20 miles east of Lake Oahe, was likely motivated by the recent outcry over ETP’s razing of sacred land over Labor Day weekend, which spokespeople from the Sioux tribe seem to believe was a deliberate escalation between builders and protestors.
The protestors have been asking to halt construction in part because they’re worried about the potential pollution of their water supply as the pipeline is installed upriver of the reservation, and in part because they rightfully fear the destruction of their cultural sites. The tribe sought a restraining order against ETP, which was denied by Boasberg. According to The Guardian, following the ruling, the Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman Dave Archambault II issued a statement that said: “Today’s denial of a temporary restraining order … west of Lake Oahe puts my people’s sacred places at further risk of ruin and desecration.”
The company has maintained that no landmarks or burial sites were touched, filing court documents early Tuesday morning stating that the company “has taken and continues to take every reasonable precaution” around areas of cultural significance. They also requested that the judge deny the request for construction stoppage, with Dakota Access attorney Bill Leone saying that if allowed to continue building, they’d be done by the end of the week
Meanwhile, Green Party candidate Jill Stein was on the scene:
Stein supposedly spray painted a bull dozer with the words “I approve this message,” which is probably less confusing when you’re at the scene. No formal complaints have been filed against Stein, though Morton County sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said she will be facing trespassing and vandalism charges.