Native American tribes sue over Keystone XL pipeline

Native American tribes sue over Keystone XL pipeline
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Two Native American tribes are suing the Trump administration over its approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which they say will damage important cultural sites.

The Fort Belknap and Rosebud Sioux tribes brought the lawsuit against the State Department on Monday, claiming the pipeline was approved last year without consideration of the harm it could inflict.

The tribes are asking a court to rescind the permit, arguing that the president ignored their human rights and specific protections for tribes when he approved the project last year.

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"All historical, cultural, and spiritual places and sites of significance in the path of the pipeline are at risk of destruction," the tribes told the federal District Court for the District of Montana in their filing.

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of ongoing legal battles which have stalled the pipeline's construction since the State Department issued a permit allowing it to move ahead in 2017.

The pipeline was most recently delayed last month after a judge ordered an environmental review of the project.

Former President Obama in 2012 first blocked the pipeline's construction amidst fierce protests by Native American and environmental groups. Obama again blocked the project in 2015 by vetoing a Republican bill that would have given the go-ahead to the pipeline.  

The project would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, toward the Gulf Coast, crossing through lands owned by Native Americans and harming the environment, according to protesters.

Updated at 4:12 p.m.