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Construction of controversial North Dakota pipeline temporarily halted

Pipe ran near ancestral land of the Standing Rock Sioux

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Sioux Tribe Rallies For Environmental Review Of Dakota Access Pipeline In DC
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The federal government has temporarily halted construction of a controversial North Dakota pipeline that would run near Native American land. The decision comes after a court ruling that rejected efforts by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to stop building the pipeline entirely.

In August, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the US Army Corps of Engineers for approving the pipeline without consulting them. Earlier today, a federal judge ruled against the tribe, saying that the US Army Corps probably did not violate the law when they approved the project without consulting the tribe. But a joint statement from the Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, and the Department of the Army said that “important issues” raised by the tribes remain, and construction will not go forward “at this time.”

The $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline was constructed as part of the North Dakota oil boom that has attracted billions of dollars to the state, and would carry nearly 500,000 barrels of oil daily to Illinois. Standing Rock Sioux tribe members have been protesting the project since April.

The pipeline was to run just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Tribe members say it would pose a health hazard — since a leak would be disastrous for their land and could poison their water — and that it would be culturally disrespectful, since the pipe runs through their ancestral land.