Judge to hear arguments on Dakota Access pipeline work

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in Washington, D.C., is hearing arguments on whether to stop work on the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline until a legal battle with American Indian tribes is resolved.

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 Illinois.

READ MORE: Tribe files legal challenge as construction of Dakota Access pipeline continues

The Cheyenne River Sioux filed a legal challenge to the easement Thursday in federal court in Washington, D.C.

A spokesperson for Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, said in a statement last week that construction continued again immediately after the Army granted the final easement last Tuesday to complete the project.

READ MORE: Army Corps grants final permit to finish construction of Dakota Access pipeline

It’s the latest development in what has been a months-long battle over the project, which Native American tribes and environmental activists say threatens cultural sites and contaminates nearby water sources. Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, has said it’s safer than other methods of moving oil, like by train or truck.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg is to hear arguments this afternoon on whether the construction of the pipeline should be stopped while the lawsuit plays out.