Hundreds of protesters gather in Washington D.C. for Dakota Access Pipeline construction hearing

Published: Aug. 24, 2016 at 9:23 PM CDT
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Hundreds of protesters from across the country swarmed a federal courthouse in Washington D.C. Wednesday, where a federal judge did not immediately rule on a request by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to stop a four-state oil pipeline under construction near their reservation.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members say the Dakota Access Pipeline’s route under the Missouri River could threaten its water supplies if the pipeline leaks or breaks.

Protesters waited anxiously outside a federal courthouse Wednesday for a decision on whether or not the Dakota Access Pipeline construction will continue.

And now, they'll have to wait just a little bit longer.

Jahn Hasselman is an attorney representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who is suing federal regulators for approving permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline that will move oil from North Dakota to Illinois.

“We are very concerned. The reason for that is that the pipeline's construction is moving incredibly fast,” says Hasselman.

The heart of the legal argument is whether or not the Army Corps of Engineers properly consulted with the tribes ahead of the pipeline's construction.

“The way the federal government treats Indian country, Native Americans, is disheartening,” says Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman.

Archambault says his tribe was never consulted by the Army Corps before the construction for the pipeline began.

“We were never afforded that opportunity to protect our lands. They were just taken from us,” says Archambault.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied our request for comment, but in court attorneys representing them argued that there is no evidence there are historic artifacts in the path of the pipeline.

They also argued that they followed proper protocol in consulting with the tribes, something Sen. John Hoeven, R - N.D. agrees with.

"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,” says Hoeven.

Judge James E. Boasberg from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia says he’ll make a final decision on pipeline on or before September 9.