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The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota and South Dakota has filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers, accusing the federal agency of violating the National Historic Preservation Act and other laws after it issued final permits this week for a crude oil pipeline stretching from North Dakota to Illinois.
The tribe said in the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., that the 'Corps effectively wrote off the tribe's concerns and ignored the pipeline's impacts to sacred sites and culturally important landscapes. The pipeline travels through the tribe's ancestral lands and passes within half a mile of its current reservation.”
The Corps' approval allows developer Dakota Access to dig the pipeline under the Missouri River a half-mile upstream of the reservation and the tribe's drinking water supply. An oil spill at this site, said the complaint, would constitute a threat to the tribe's culture and way of life.
'The Corps puts our water and the lives and livelihoods of many in jeopardy,” said tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II. 'We have laws that require federal agencies to consider environmental risks and protection of Indian historic and sacred sites. But the Army Corps has ignored all those laws and fast-tracked this massive project just to meet the pipeline's aggressive construction schedule.”
The $3.7 billion project would extend 1,168 miles across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, carrying crude oil from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to Illinois where it would link with another pipeline to transport the oil to terminals and refineries along the Gulf of Mexico - and also provide the product to East Coast and Midwest refineries.
Despite objections by the Standing Rock Sioux and other organizations, construction of the pipeline has already begun.