As one of his first acts as President, Trump signed an executive order scooting the approval of the Dakota and Keystone pipelines along.

As Professor Jacobson pointed out at the time, Trump’s EO didn’t guarantee approval or even construction of either pipeline.

Shortly thereafter, the Army Corps of Engineers granted the easement necessary to finish construction on the Dakota pipeline.

“The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes seeking a preliminary injunction against an easement needed to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline,” reported NBC, who has the story.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote in a court filing Tuesday that the tribe had waited too long to raise the religious concerns upon which the motion was based.

“At this point … the [Army] Corps has granted the permits and easement, and DAPL’s construction under Lake Oahe is days from completion,” Boasberg wrote. “Rerouting the pipeline around Lake Oahe would be more costly and complicated than it would have been months or years ago, as doing so now requires not simply changing plans but abandoning part of a near-complete project and redoing the construction elsewhere.”

The tribes and a number of environmental groups oppose the pipeline under construction by Energy Transfer Partners, in part, because they say it could pose a threat to their drinking water supply. The fight against the pipeline led to a months-long protest camp that drew opponents of the project from around the country.

The Army Corps of Engineers granted an easement clearing the way for the pipeline to run under Lake Oahe on Feb. 7. The motion that sought to block the easement argued “the mere existence of a crude oil pipeline under the waters of Lake Oahe [would] desecrate those waters,” leaving them unsuitable for the tribe’s religious ceremonies.

Leaders of the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux — the two tribes party to the motion — described the ruling as preliminary and said it did not hurt their larger effort to block construction of the pipeline on land they consider sacred. Two additional challenges to the easement that the tribes’ lawyers consider grounds for summary judgement are waiting in the wings, though they will likely not be heard until April.

“Today’s ruling does not hurt the strength of our legal arguments challenging the illegal easement approved by the Trump administration,” Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said in a statement. “While this preliminary ruling is disappointing, it’s not surprising. It is very difficult to get an injunction in a case like this. The bigger legal battle is ahead — we stand strong.”

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