The company behind the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline has restarted construction in the disputed area around and under a North Dakota lake.
Energy Transfer Partners spokeswoman Vicki Granado said the developer started the Lake Oahe building immediately after it received the easement it needed for construction late Wednesday from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The 1.5-mile Lake Oahe section is the final portion of the pipeline to be built. Since the middle of last year, Energy Transfer ran into numerous delays, including from the Obama administration, environmental activists and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The tribe had sued to stop the project, saying that it violates their treaty rights and threatens the security of their water supply.
Hours after the Army Corps granted the final easement, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe asked a federal court in Washington, D.C., to block the easement and immediately issue a restraining order to stop construction.
“The granting of the easement and resulting construction activity violates the tribe’s and its members’ constitutional rights, and will result in immediate and irreparable harm to the tribe and its members before this court will be able to rule on the merits of this claim,” the tribe, which is based in a nearby reservation, told the court.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has been the main litigant against the pipeline, also promised litigation, though it had not filed any motions as of Thursday morning.
“We will continue to fight against an administration that seeks to dismiss not only our treaty rights and status as sovereign nations, but the safe drinking water of millions of Americans,” Dave Archambault, the tribe’s chairman, said in a statement, promising to continue the fight against Dakota Access “in the courts.”
The Associated Press first reported early Thursday that construction had restarted.