Statement from Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe on Dakota Access Pipeline RulingTweet
For Immediate Release: September 9, 2016
EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. – Late this afternoon, the D.C. district court issued its highly anticipated ruling on a motion for a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline from destroying sacred sites of the Great Sioux Nation and to protect the waters of the Missouri River. Standing Rock’s claims are based on the Corps’ failure to consult with tribes prior to issuing permits that allowed Dakota Access to begin construction on the pipeline. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe intervened in the suit last month, and filed an amended complaint yesterday to include claims against the Corps based on Treaty rights and right to clean water.
The Court denied Standing Rock’s motion for preliminary injunction. However, immediately after the Court issued its opinion, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior issued a joint statement effecting halting construction of the pipeline within 20 miles east and west of Lake Oahe.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal member and attorney for the Tribe, Nicole Ducheneaux, commented on the ruling. “I respect the honorable actions of the Obama Administration and its agreement to voluntarily suspend construction activity and to reconsider its decisions under the NEPA and other federal laws. Cheyenne River has been saying all along that the special trust relationship between the tribes and the U.S. requires serious government-to-government consultation on these important issues.”
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier concluded,
“Throughout this process we have demanded that the federal government uphold its trust responsibilities to the Great Sioux Nation. Today’s actions by the Department of Justice give me great hope that we can finally begin a dialogue so that the views and culture of tribal peoples will be heard. Even as our site protectors were indiscriminately pepper-sprayed and bitten while non-violently protesting the irrevocable destruction of our burial grounds and sacred sites, they never gave up or lost hope. We thank them for their commitment to protecting our sacred land and valuable resources.”