Bakken pipeline developer takes on North Dakota protesters
After arrests there, Dakota Access files for restraining orders
BISMARCK, N.D. — Dakota Access has countered a federal lawsuit filed against it to stop a crude oil pipeline by filing a lawsuit of its own.
Its lawsuit was filed Monday against Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault and several protesters opposing the project at a construction site. The suit seeks retraining orders and unspecified monetary damages.
During a conference call Monday with reporters, Archambault said he expects more arrests as tribal members and activists continue their opposition to the pipeline.
Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman for Bakken pipeline developer Dakota Access, said the suit was filed in the interest of safety.
“We have taken the steps necessary to protect our workers and those who live in the area, which is our top priority,” Granado said.
At issue is a section of the pipeline to be bored under the Missouri River and run less than a mile from the tribe’s reservation boundary.
Tribal leaders and groups have been staging protests over the pipeline’s construction, citing concerns over potential contamination of the Missouri River if the pipeline were to rupture.
Archambault was among several arrested last week when protesters, aiming to prevent pipeline workers from leaving the site, pushed back against police.
According to the Dakota Access lawsuit, the protesters “have created and will continue to create a risk of bodily injury and harm to Dakota Access employees and contractors, as well as to law enforcement personnel and other individuals at the construction site.”
The tribe last month filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers permits it issued, asserting the Corps violated the National Historic Preservation Act and other laws.
The 1,172-mile, 30-inch diameter underground pipeline will originate in western North Dakota, cut across South Dakota and 18 counties in Iowa before ending at in Patoka, Ill.
Dozens of people opposed to the pipeline are expected to rally against it Tuesday morning outside the Des Moines headquarters of the Iowa Utilities Board.
Earlier this year, the board granted permits for the route in Iowa and allowed Dakota Access to use eminent domain powers if it was unable to secure voluntary easements from landowners.