Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Resistance to the pipeline has been ongoing since last summer, involving more than 200 tribes from around the country. (Photo: Leslie Peterson/flickr/cc)

Tribe Files New Suit as Army Corps Announces Eviction Deadline for Water Protectors

'We really had no choice but to go to court to protect our rights' said Oglala Sioux president

Nadia Prupis

The Oglala Sioux have joined the legal battle against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, filing a lawsuit this week calling on the agency to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) until an environmental review can be completed.

Tribal leaders cited fear of water contamination in their lawsuit, which was filed Monday in the U.S District Court in Washington, the same day a federal judge rejected an emergency request from the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to delay construction.

The action comes ahead of the corps pledging to evict anyone still camping at the main resistance site in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on February 22.

The corps granted DAPL's parent company its final easement this month and canceled the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) amid widespread protests.

"After the Corps granted the easement for the DAPL to cross under Lake Oahe and stopped the environmental impact statement process, we really had no choice but to go to court to protect our rights under the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties to safe drinking water," tribal President Troy "Scott" Weston said in a statement Monday.

The Oglala Sioux are situated in South Dakota, one of the four states the 1,172-mile pipeline crosses. The lawsuit warns that a spill in the Missouri River would violate Indigenous treaty rights, contaminate clean water for more than 200,000 state residents, and bring about other environmental devastation.

"The waters of the Missouri River are sacred to the tribe," the Oglala Sioux's lawsuit states. "These waters give life to all of the creatures and plants on the tribe's lands. The tribe has treaty- and statute-protected property rights to the waters of the Missouri River."

President Donald Trump, who took office pledging support for Big Oil, signed an executive order last month instructing the corps to expedite the DAPL approval process—reversing an effort by former President Barack Obama to halt construction until the EIS could be completed.

Kelcy Warren, CEO of DAPL's parent company, Energy Transfer Partners, has previously referred to the water protectors and other pipeline opponents as terrorists.

Resistance to the pipeline has been ongoing since last summer, with more than 200 tribes from around the country supporting the front-line efforts in North Dakota led largely by the Standing Rock Sioux. That tribe was also in D.C. court this week, filing a motion to overturn the Lake Oahe easement.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Scientists Revive ‘Zombie’ Virus After 50,000 Years Trapped in Siberian Permafrost

Researchers documented 13 never-before-seen viruses that have been lying dormant, frozen in thick ice, over tens of thousands of years.

Common Dreams staff ·


'Cleaner Air Is Coming' as London Expands Vehicle Pollution Fee to Entire Metro Area

"Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year because of long-term exposure to air pollution, with the greatest number of deaths in outer London boroughs," noted Mayor Sadiq Khan in announcing the expansion.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Amazing News': Historic Shark Protections Approved at Global Wildlife Convention

Up to 90% of sharks targeted by the lucrative fin trade will now be protected, said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'The Nightmare Materializes': Far-Right Extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir to Be Israel's National Security Minister

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Palestinian Authority said Ben-Gvir's elevation to national security minister could have a "catastrophic impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Jake Johnson ·


Raging Wars, Soaring Hunger Put Women and Girls in Crosshairs, Warns UN

"A toxic mix of crises—conflicts, climate, skyrocketing costs, and the ripple effects of the Ukraine war—are inflicting a devastating toll on the forcibly displaced. This is being felt across the world, but women and girls are particularly suffering."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo