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Feds argue against pipeline injunction, support new review

Feds argue against pipeline injunction, support new review
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The Army Corps of Engineers is fighting against a tribe’s court appeal to block construction on a contentious pipeline in North Dakota, but it supports an Obama administration review of the project. 

The Army Corps told a federal court Wednesday that it shouldn’t grant the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction against the Dakota Access Pipeline, noting a lower court’s Friday decision approving of the way the agency permitted the pipeline project.

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Even so, the Corps wrote in a filing, the agency said it supports a temporary halt of construction on the route while federal officials consider whether there needs to be a more rigorous round of assessments on the 1,170-mile, $3.8 billion pipeline. The filing said federal officials think the pipeline developer should stop work on a section of the pipeline while that review moves forward. 

“While the Corps opposes the Tribe’s current motion and believes that it should be denied, the Departments believe that the pipeline company should implement the relief that the Tribe is seeking voluntarily,” the agency’s lawyer wrote in its filing. 

The Standing Rock Sioux had asked a federal judge to stop construction on the project while its lawsuits over the pipeline’s route move forward. Federal Judge James Boasberg denied that request last week, saying federal officials appropriately reviewed the project before granting permits for it.

The tribe appealed that ruling and asked for another injunction against the project on Friday, after the Obama administration ordered a new review of the pipeline. 

Also Wednesday, House Democrats asked President Obama to “maintain [the administration’s] hold on further permitting” for the project until it can further fully vet the tribe’s concerns about the pipeline’s impact on cultural and environmental areas in North Dakota.

“We stand with tribal leaders in asking you to uphold our federal trust responsibility and protect tribal interests in this and future permitting decisions by the [Army Corps],” said a letter to Obama, signed by 19 House Democrats and led by Rep. Betty McCollumBetty Louise McCollumDisagreements are a part of our process OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina | Democrats probe Park Service involvement in GOP convention | Sanders attacks 'corporate welfare' to coal industry included in relief package Democrats probe Park Service involvement in GOP convention MORE (D-Minn.).