The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. has temporarily blocked construction of the contentious Dakota Access crude oil pipeline in North Dakota so it can review complaints by an American Indian tribe over the pipeline’s route.
The crude oil pipeline has stoked nationwide outrage from environmental groups who are backing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as it tries to block the project, which they say threatens their only source of fresh drinking water and has resulted in their sacred burial lands being defiled.
The nation’s top appeals court imposed a temporary injunction on Friday, after meeting with the tribe and the Army Corps of Engineers.
“The purpose of this administrative injunction is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for injunction pending appeal and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion,” the D.C. Circuit Court explained in its order.
An industry coalition supporting the continued construction of the pipeline said it was disappointed by the court’s decision, but respects the court’s process.
“Although disappointing, we respect the process and the court’s decision to issue this temporary injunction so it can spend time considering the facts of the case,” said Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens.