Here is the opinion in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. United States Army Corps of Engineers.
Lake Oahe, created when the United States Army Corps of Engineers flooded thousands of acres of Sioux lands in the Dakotas by constructing the Oahe Dam on the Missouri River, provides several successor tribes of the Great Sioux Nation with water for drinking, industry, and sacred cultural practices. Passing beneath Lake Oahe’s waters, the Dakota Access Pipeline transports crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Under the Mineral Leasing Act, 30 U.S.C. § 185, the pipeline could not traverse the federally owned land at the Oahe crossing site without an easement from the Corps. The question presented here is whether the Corps
violated the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. § 4321, by issuing that easement without preparing an environmental impact statement despite substantial criticisms from the Tribes and, if so, what should be done about that failure. We agree with the district court that the Corps acted unlawfully, and we affirm the court’s order vacating the easement while the Corps prepares an environmental impact statement. But we reverse the court’s order to the extent it directed that the pipeline be shut down and emptied of oil.
From the Intercept, here.
Here is the court calendar.
Here are the tribe-side briefs.
Danielle Delaney has published “Under Coyote’s Mask: Environmental Law, Indigenous Identity, and #NoDAPL” in the Michigan Journal of Race & Law.
This Article studies the relationship between the three main lawsuits filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and the Yankton Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DaPL) and the mass protests launched from the Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin protest camps. The use of environmental law as the primary legal mechanism to challenge the construction of the pipeline distorted the indigenous demand for justice as U.S. federal law is incapable of seeing the full depth of the indigenous worldview supporting their challenge. Indigenous activists constantly re-centered the direct actions and protests within indigenous culture to remind non-indigenous activists and the wider media audience that the protests were an indigenous protest, rather than a purely environmental protest, a distinction that was obscured as the litigation progressed. The NoDAPL protests, the litigation to prevent the completion and later operation of the pipeline, and the social movement that the protests engendered, were an explosive expression of indigenous resistance—resistance to systems that silence and ignore indigenous voices while attempting to extract resources from their lands and communities. As a case study, the protests demonstrate how the use of litigation, while often critical to achieving the goals of political protest, distorts the expression of politics not already recognized within the legal discourse.