Federal Appeals Court Halts Dakota Access Segment as Solidarity Protests Spread Nationwide

Washington, DC – A federal appeals court ruled to temporarily halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline taking place within a 20-mile radius of Lake Oahe (near the Missouri river) on Saturday, September 17. Federal judge James Boasberg had previously ruled to allow construction in the Lake Oahe area, but minutes after his ruling, the federal government stepped in and asked Energy Transfer Partners to voluntarily cease construction in this area.

Construction within 20 miles of Lake Oahe seemed to have already stopped after the federal government’s request, but now it is legally halted, albeit temporarily, by a court order. A panel of three judges on the D.C. Circuit of Appeals ordered that all construction within 20 miles of Lake Oahe cease for the time being “to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for injunction pending appeal.”

Read the one-page DC Appeals Court ruling below:

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Download PDF here.

The news website Indianz.com warned that the DC appeals court is already split on the matter, due to a Bush appointee:

Of the three judges who have been assigned to hear the appeal, one of them was against granting the administrative injunction, according to the clerk’s order. That judge is Janice Rogers Brown, who was nominated to the D.C. Circuit by former president George W. Bush. Within three years of joining the court, she generated a strong anti-tribal record, according to a 2008 review of her writings by Indianz.Com.

The other two judges on the case are Thomas B. Griffith, another Bush nominee, and Cornelia T.L. Pillard, who was nominated by President Barack Obama and is relatively new to the D.C. Circuit. She was part of the panel that gave the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington a significant victory in its land-into-trust case.

While construction in the area of Lake Oahe has already been stopped before Friday’s appeals court ruling, construction outside of this area has been continuing in full force.

Energy Transfer Partners is aggressively seeking to complete construction of as much of the Dakota Access Pipeline as soon as possible and are committed to its completion, according to a statement from CEO Kelcy Warren.

We documented ongoing Dakota Access construction in a video report earlier this week:

Today people returned to the site of where water protecters were attacked by dogs controlled by security contractors – an incident for which no dog handler has yet been charged.

Whenever people from #NoDAPL camps march on Highway 1806, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) federal police set up checkpoints like this one.

On Friday morning, local news reported police allegations that #NoDAPL graffiti messages had appeared in Bismarck:

The same day, the US Army Corps of Engineers issued a Special Use Permit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe “to use Federal lands managed by the Corps near Lake Oahe.”

According to the Army they granted a special use permit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for them to use Army Corps land but only south of the Cannonball River.  The Corps made it clear that all land north of the Cannonball, including the area containing the overflow camps, does not fall under this permit, the Army said, due to the land already being covered by a cattle grazing lease.

Friday also saw a march and rally against the pipeline held by water protectors and allies in the city of Bismarck.

Following a wave of solidarity actions earlier this week, demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline continued across the country on Friday and Saturday in the NoDAPL solidarity week of action.

Protesters took the fight directly to the banks pushing the pipeline. In Chicago, a zine has been released and protesters occupied a CitiBank. In Washington DC a TD Bank was shut down.

While many progressive groups have joined the opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, the AFL-CIO and its president Richard Trumka announced this week it is backing big oil and banks to protect temporary construction jobs. On the other hand, the 700,000 member Communications Workers of America (CWA) union announced support for the Standing Rock tribe.


Pipeline opposition in North Dakota continues to increase beyond the DAPL project. Controversy around the 70-mile Sacagawea pipeline in Mountrail County, which passes under Lake Sakakawea, intensified when whistleblower contractor Kenny Crase notified regulators that he had been barred from properly inspecting a pipeline segment under the lake. On August 5th, InForum.com reported “he fears there are defects in the pipe coating that could cause oil to spill in the reservoir, which is the drinking water source for several western North Dakota cities… Crase said the coating crew was not allowed to complete their work. In addition, the crew was told to stay in their trucks and not allowed to do a final inspection of the coating as another contractor installed the pipe under the lake”.

The Dickinson Press reported US District Judge Daniel Hovland extended a restraining order against Three Affiliated Tribes who tried to place a cease and desist order against its construction until Monday, September 19th. Hovland granted that restraining order request to Paradigm Energy Partners on August 23rd. The pipeline is a joint venture between Paradigm, Phillips 66 (which is also an investor in DAPL), and Grey Wolf Midstream, LLC, a project chartered by the Three Affiliated Tribes which will have a 12% interest in the project, according to TheBakken.com.


To see Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the Sacred Stone Camp and frontline anti-pipeline struggle, see below.

September 2016

For our coverage earlier this spring of the Sacred Stone Camp, see May 27th report, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“; May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“; April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“; March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.


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