A federal judge on Monday rejected requests from Native American tribes to suspend construction on the final section of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Reuters reports.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, in Washington, D.C., issued his ruling Monday. But he said he'd consider the arguments more thoroughly at another hearing on February 27.
Heeding instructions by President Donald Trump to let the project move forward, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a final easement permit on February 8 that would let Energy Transfer Partners cross the Missouri River under Lake Oahe in North Dakota to finish the pipeline.
While the company has "the greatest respect for the religious beliefs and traditions of Cheyenne River and the other tribes", there is no need for a restraining order to protect those interests, Scherman wrote. As TIME reports, construction on the final link in the Dakota Access Pipeline chain began last Wednesday. They maintain the project threatens cultural sites, water and their religion.
In denying initial attempts to halt the pipeline in September, Judge Boasberg had said that the Army Corps of Engineers had tried dozens of times to consult with the tribes.
Arguing against the claim that the project would violate the Cheyenne River tribe's religious freedom, Dakota Access attorney William S. Scherman said in today's brief that this allegation, which had not previously been raised in the lawsuit, comes far too late in the process.
Energy Transfer Partners had argued that the tribes' argument that the work threatened their religion was "exceedingly tardy" and "not construction-related", AP reported. ETP says the claim is "exceedingly tardy" and "not construction-related".
The tribes requested a temporary injunction last week after Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners got federal permission to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir. That's the last big section that would need to be completed before the pipeline could carry North Dakota oil to IL.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe filed a motion last week seeking the restraining order.
Thousands of predominantly Native American protesters have demonstrated against the pipeline's construction and set up camps along the final stretch.
"The Army Corps of Engineers is objected to the request by the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes".
Both tribes also warned the pipeline could break and pollute the river, which is the source of drinking water for the tribe and millions of people downstream.
Developer Energy Transfer Partners last week received final approval from the Army to lay pipe under the Missouri River in North Dakota _ the final chunk of construction for the 1,200-mile pipeline to move North Dakota oil to IL.