D.C. Circuit Affirms Order that DAPL Easement is Illegal, but Does Not Require Shutdown of Pipeline

Here is the opinion in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. United States Army Corps of Engineers.

An excerpt:

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.

Briefs here.

D.C. Circuit Materials in Standing Rock v. Army Corps

Here are the briefs in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. United States Army Corps of Engineers:

Dakota Access Brief

Dakota Access Reply

Federal Brief

Federal Reply Brief

Members of Congress Amicus Brief

NIWRC Amicus Brief

North Dakota Brief

Standing Rock Brief

States Against DAPL Amicus Brief

States Supporting DAPL Amicus Brief

Tribal Orgs Amicus Brief

Oral argument audio here.

Lower court materials here.

Federal Court Dismisses Most Claims by Water Protectors against State and County over NoDAPL Protests

Here are the materials in Thunderhawk v. County of Morton (D.N.D.):

38 TigerSwan Answer + Counterclaim

44 Amended Complaint

45-1 Motion to Dismiss TigerSwan Counterclaim

49 County Motion to Dismiss

52 State Motion to Dismiss

56 TigerSwam Answer + 2d Counterclaim

57 TigerSwan Opposition to 45

58 Reply in Support of 45

61 Response to County MTD

62 Response to State MTD

67-1 Motion to Dismiss TigerSwan 2d Counterclaim

71 County Reply in Support of 49

73 TigerSwan Opposition to 67

76 State Reply in Support of 52

82 TigerSwan MSJ

84 Response to TigerSwan MSJ

85 TigerSwan Reply in Support of 82

87 DCT Order Dismissing TigerSwan Counterclaim

88 DCT Order

Federal Court Invalidates Dakota Access Pipeline Permits

Here is the order in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. United States Army Corps of Engineers (D.D.C.):

546 DCT Order

Related briefs:

507 US Brief

510 Dakota Access Brief

527 Tribal Plaintiffs Brief

531 Congressional Amicus Brief

532 Environmental Amicus Brief

533 Tribal Amicus Brief

536 US Reply

539 Dakota Access Reply

Prior post here.

Tribes Prevail in Standing Rock Suit, Court Orders Army Corps Prepare EIS on Dakota Access Pipeline

Here is the order in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. United States Army Corps of Engineers (D.D.C.):

2020-03-25-dkt-496-memorandum-opinion-re-495-order-on-motions-for-summary-judgment.-signed-by-judge-james-e.-boasberg-on-3252020.pdf

More details later.

Danielle Delaney on Environmental Law, Indigenous Identity, and #NoDAPL

Danielle Delaney has published “Under Coyote’s Mask: Environmental Law, Indigenous Identity, and #NoDAPL” in the Michigan Journal of Race & Law.

The abstract:

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.