Standing Rock Sioux Tribe & Department of Justice Move to Dismiss Dakota Access Lawsuit

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

By Chelsea Hawkins, Pyramid Communications

On January 9, 2017, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a motion with the US District Court in Washington, DC, asking District Judge James Boasberg to throw out Dakota Access’s lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers. The Department of Justice, which represents the Corps, filed a similar motion.

The motions do not effect the lawsuit filed by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Corps permits, which are currently held in abeyance pending the recently initiated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process considering route alternatives.

After initially supporting the Army Corps against the Tribe’s earlier litigation about the pipeline, DAPL shifted its position to sue the Corps, arguing that it had all the permissions it required in order to complete the pipeline across Lake Oahe. The lawsuit came as a surprise, as DAPL had previously acknowledged that it still required a real estate easement – that has not yet been granted – before finalizing construction. The lawsuit came after the Army Corps announced on December 4, 2016, that it would prepare an EIS considering both the Tribe’s treaty rights and route alternatives to the Lake Oahe crossing.

In its motion to the Court asking it to dismiss DAPL’s lawsuit, the Tribe explained how the Corps has not, and could not have, issued the easement yet. It also explained how the Corps’ decision to provide a full EIS on route alternatives for the pipeline was legally required and appropriate in light of the history of the Sioux.

“DAPL’s lawsuit is a desperate attempt to bully the government into getting the easement and violating Standing Rock’s rights,” said Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Chairman. “It will not succeed. We look forward to working with the Corps on an EIS that fully takes into account our history and our rights, and are confident that the easement at Lake Oahe will ultimately be denied.”

The tribe is still awaiting publication of a notice of intent to prepare an EIS to be published in the Federal Register.

View the Tribe’s memo in support of the motion to dismiss, here (PDF) on the Earth Justice website.

View the Department of Justice’s brief here (PDF).

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About Kay Whatley 2244 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.