NEAR THE STANDING ROCK SIOUX RESERVATION, N.D. (AP) — The federal government stepped into the fight over the Dakota Access oil pipeline Friday, ordering work to stop on one segment of the project in North Dakota and asking the Texas-based company building it to “voluntarily pause” action on a wider span that an American Indian tribe says holds sacred artifacts.
The government’s order came minutes after a judge rejected a request by the Standing Rock Sioux to halt construction of the $3.8 billion, four-state pipeline.
The tribe, whose cause has drawn thousands to join their protest, has challenged the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to grant permits for the pipeline at more than 200 water crossings. Tribal leaders allege that the project violates several federal laws and will harm water supplies. The tribe also says ancient sites have been disturbed during construction.
The tribe’s chairman, Dave Archambault II, spoke at the state Capitol in front of several hundred people, some carrying signs that read “Respect Our Water” and “Water Is Sacred.” He called the federal announcement “a beautiful start” and told reporters that the dispute is a long way from over.