The Legal Process

The Dakota Access Pipeline Operates Within the Rule of Law. Those Opposed Should Do the Same.


he Dakota Access Pipeline’s approval was the result of a lengthy and comprehensive legal and consultative process. The Dakota Access Pipeline was approved by South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, North Dakota Public Service Commission, The Iowa Utilities Board, The Illinois Commerce Commission, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On September 9, 2016, United States District Court Judge James Boasberg denied the Standing Rock Sioux a preliminary injunction that would have had the effect of blocking further construction of the pipeline. In his opinion, Judge Boasberg noted that the Army Corps of Engineers offered the Tribe multiple opportunities to visit or survey the sites they declared sensitive and that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe elected not to do so.

Despite this, protesters, many from outside the Tribe, have invaded privately leased land near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. While they have claimed their protests are peaceful, that has not been the case. On September 2, 2016, about 250 extremist protesters stormed and destroyed a private landowner’s fence using vehicles, horses and dogs. They attacked a security crew protecting construction workers and causing multiple injuries. They damaged over $10 million in equipment over the subsequent weeks. Five construction workers were attacked in Bismarck while miles away from the pipeline. Two law enforcement agencies have asked at times for federal assistance to restore the rule of law.

These extremist protesters have repeatedly broken the law and provoked violent confrontations with law enforcement, vandalized private property, and threatened and harassed pipeline employees. To date, there have been nearly 500 arrests of protesters.

We have great respect for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their land, but their cause has been subverted and completely overtaken by outside extremist protesters who have conducted themselves dishonorably, and in many cases, criminally. The Standing Rock Sioux have recently asked for them to leave the private property they have illegally occupied, and they should do so.

Key Facts

  • The Dakota Access Pipeline was approved by regulatory agencies in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.
  • More than 1,000 permits and approvals were granted for constructing DAPL.
  • A federal judge ruled that DAPL is lawful.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers report in July 2016 found the crossing at Lake Oahe complies with federal law.

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