Friday, February 10, 2017

RFRA Challenge To Dakota Access Pipeline Filed

As previously reported, last month President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of the Army to expedite approval of construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). A federal district court had previously denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe an injunction against the pipeline. (See prior posting.) As reported by Jurist, yesterday the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe which had already intervened as a plaintiff in the challenge to the pipeline filed three motions in the case. First it asked to be allowed to file an amended complaint adding a Religious Freedom Restoration Act claim. (Full text of motion.) It then filed a motion (full text and supporting memorandum ) seeking a preliminary injunction, and a separate motion seeking a temporary restraining order (full text and supporting memorandum) directing the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the easement/right-of-way issued on February 8 that permits drilling under federally-owned lands under and surrounding Lake Oahe, explaining:
The Lakota people believe that the mere existence of a crude oil pipeline under the waters of Lake Oahe will desecrate those waters and render them unsuitable for use in their religious sacraments.