A federal judge on Monday refused to stop construction on the last stretch of the Dakota Access pipeline, which is progressing much faster than expected and could be operational in as little as 30 days.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled after an hourlong hearing that as long as oil isn’t flowing through the pipeline, there is no imminent harm to the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes, which are suing to stop the project. But he said he’d consider the arguments more thoroughly at another hearing on Feb. 27.
The tribes requested the temporary injunction last week after Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners got federal permission to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota. That’s the last big section of the $3.8 billion pipeline, which would carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois.
The tribes say the pipeline would endanger their cultural sites and water supply. They added a religious freedom component to their case last week by arguing that clean water is necessary to practice the Sioux religion.