A judge has granted a temporary stoppage on a portion of the pipeline that will zig-zag across North Dakota and three other states. Hundreds of activists, many of whom are members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, were thrilled to learn of U.S. District Judge James Boasberg‘s decision to stop the construction of a segment of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
On Tuesday, the judge announced that work on the $3.8 billion pipeline would temporarily halt between North Dakota’s State Highway 1806 and 20 miles east of Lake Oahe. Construction will continue in other areas in the state.
According to the judge, the stoppage is because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lacks jurisdiction on private land. The judge did not say when work would resume on this portion of the pipeline. In his announcement, the judge also revealed that Friday he will share his decision on “the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s challenge to federal regulators’ decision to grant permits to Dakota Access Pipeline.”
The tribe requested the stoppage after a very heated weekend of fights and dog attacks. About 200 protesters confronted construction workers near Lake Oahe because they wanted to stop the bulldozing of sites that are “of great historic and cultural significance to the tribe.”
Screaming matches occurred between the tribe members and the security guards. A tribal spokesman said that dogs bit six people including a child, and security guards pepper-sprayed 30 people.
According to Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Donnell Preskey, no officers were present on the site when the chaos broke out. Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earthjustice, who filed the broader lawsuit on behalf of the tribe, said:
“We’re disappointed that some of the important sacred sites that we had found and provided evidence for will not be protected. We’re grateful that there was an agreement at least in the area immediately next to Lake Oahe, and we’ll know more by the end of the week about where we’re heading.”
Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, which is developing the pipeline, blamed the protesters for the drama by saying that they broke through a fence and verbally and physically attacked the workers.
Hundreds of protesters have been camping out near the reservation for weeks, and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein showed up on Monday to support them. Lawyers for the company have denied that workers have destroyed any cultural sites.