Federal judge in Dakota Access Pipeline case says he wants to 'absorb both sides of argument' before ruling

Published: Aug. 24, 2016 at 5:56 PM CDT
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There was no ruling handed down Wednesday on the Dakota Access Pipeline construction in district court in Washington D.C. The heart of the legal argument is whether or not the Army Corps of Engineers properly consult with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe ahead of the pipeline’s construction.

Now, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is suing federal regulators for approving permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline that will move oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Standing Rock members say the pipeline’s route under the Missouri River could threaten its water supplies if the pipeline leaks or breaks.

The chairman of the tribe says the United States Army Corps of Engineers failed to do proper consultation with his tribe before granting federal approvals for the pipeline. This is something Senator John Hoeven, who is on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee disagrees with.

"When we were made aware of the project, we informed them that, by law, as a requirement, that the tribes consult government to government on this matter. They are going to claim that correspondence is consultation. The correspondence is about our disagreement, that's not consultation," says Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman.

"If there is some way for the corps to work to meet the concerns of the tribe, they should certainly do that. But that has been a consultation process. If the tribe doesn't feel that that has been sufficient, again, they can protest as long as they do it peacefully and safely, but ultimately their recourse is to the courts," says Sen. John Hoeven, R - N.D.

Judge James Boasberg says he wasn’t really feeling comfortable making this ruling Wednesday. He says he really wants to sit down and absorb both sides of the argument before he issues his decision. That opinion should be out by September 9.