(KMSP) - The fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline has not let up, even after the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would stop the pipeline from going under the Missouri River at the disputed site near the Standing Rock Reservation.
On Sunday, the Corps announced it would deny the easement to cross the river, and instead, would review alternate locations for the pipeline, the risk of an oil spill and the Sioux Tribe’s treaty rights.
On Monday, lawyers for the pipeline filed a 41-page motion blasting the Corps’ decision, calling it “capitulation to political pressure.” The motion asks a federal judge to ignore the Corps announcement, and declare “Dakota Access has a lawful right-of-way to construct, operate, and maintain its pipeline…”
While protesters and lawyers continue their fight, the review raises other uncertainties going forward. First, the new environmental review will almost certainly continue into the Trump Administration, posing the question of what President Trump might do.
“He has some influence to do it faster or slower,” Fred Morrison, a constitutional law professor at the University of Minnesota School of Law, told Fox 9. Morrison said an “interference in an ongoing administrative process might raise all sorts of questions and raise grounds for challenging in court.”
Next, there is still a dispute over ownership of the land where the pipeline was planned to cross the river. The site is about a half-mile from the Standing Rock Reservation, but the U.S. Government granted the land to the Sioux Tribe in the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie. However, the U.S. later took the land back, and offered money to the tribe — money the Sioux still have not accepted.
“That might be a question, too, whether it’s federal land or Indian land,” Morrison said. “That might get tied up for a long time.”