The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has filed a motion with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., asking for the dismissal of Dakota Access’s lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers, which had also filed its own motion against the oil company, Earthjustice, the law firm representing the tribe, said Monday.
The motion is against a lawsuit filed by Energy Transfer Partners in November asking District Judge James Boasberg to declare it legal that the company has the right to build the Dakota Access pipeline on the tribe’s sacred lands across Lake Oahe.
“The lawsuit came as a surprise, as the company had previously acknowledged that it still required a real estate easement — that has not yet been granted — before finalizing construction,” the press release by Earthjustice said.
In December, the Corps of Engineers decided to deny the route for the Dakota Access pipeline, handing a major victory to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe after months of protests that gained national and international solidarity.
The nation also filed a lawsuit against Corps permits to the oil company, which are currently suspended pending the recently initiated Environmental Impact Statement process by the federal government considering alternative routes.
In its motion to the judge asking for a dismissal of the company’s lawsuit, the Native American tribe explained how the Corps has not, and could not have, issued the easement yet, the lawyers representing Standing Rock Sioux said.
The motion also argued that the Corps’ decision to provide a full assessment on route alternatives was legally required. “The Dakota Access corporation's lawsuit is a desperate attempt to bully the government into getting the easement and violating Standing Rock’s rights,” Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Chairman, said according to Earthjustice.
“It will not succeed. We look forward to working with the Corps on an EIS that fully takes into account our history and our rights, and are confident that the easement at Lake Oahe will ultimately be denied,” he concluded.
The action against the US$3.8-billion pipeline has attracted more than 300 Native American tribes from across the United States in a show of unity that is being called historic.
They said the project will damage burial sites considered sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and pollute the area's drinking water.