The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed an emergency motion on Sept. 4 for a temporary restraining order to prevent further destruction of the tribe’s sacred sites by Dakota Access Pipeline.
“On Saturday, Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners brazenly used bulldozers to destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts,” tribal chairman David Archambault II said. “They did this on a holiday weekend, one day after we filed court papers identifying these sacred sites. The desecration of these ancient places has already caused the Standing Rock Sioux irreparable harm. We’re asking the court to halt this path of destruction.”
After the initial destruction Sept. 3, Dakota Access Pipeline returned to the area and dug up additional grounds in the pre-dawn hours Sept. 4, Archambault said.
The motion seeks to prevent additional construction work on an area 2 miles west of North Dakota Highway 1806, and within 20 miles of Lake Oahe until a judge rules on the tribe’s previous motion to stop construction.
That motion is based on the Standing Rock Sioux’s assertion that it was not properly consulted before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fast-tracked approval of the pipeline project.
A decision on the case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is expected by Sept. 9.
“Destroying the tribe’s sacred places over a holiday weekend, while the judge is considering whether to block the pipeline, shows a flagrant disregard for the legal process,” said Jan Hasselman, attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux. “The Tribe has been seeking to vindicate its rights peacefully through the courts. But Dakota Access Pipeline used evidence submitted to the court as their roadmap for what to bulldoze. That’s just wrong.”
Thousands of people from more than 200 Native Tribes have joined the Standing Rock Sioux’s efforts to protect their lands, waters and sacred sites from harm during construction of the 1,200-mile pipeline.
If built, the line would carry a half-million barrels of crude oil across the tribe’s treaty lands each day.