Society

Judge Should Not Allow DAPL Oil Flow

| by Shani Shahmoon

District of Columbia District Court Judge James E. Boasberg rejected the most recent appeal to stop oil from flowing through the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline March 13.

Following Boasberg's rejection on Mar. 7 of the opposition's most recent appeal to stop construction, the judge quickly followed suit with previous actions and denied the tribe's appeal to prevent oil from flowing through the pipeline -- leaving thousands in unrest and an uproar.

Boasberg's reasoning behind his decision does not suffice and his denial of a fair trial puts a strain on the justice system, calling into question if this most recent ruling should be reevaluated and the continuation of the project put on pause.

The reservoir used by The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes -- specifically, the Sioux's Standing Rock Tribe -- lies on the edge of the new pipeline, while other parts of the pipeline cross through disputed Sioux land. And the most controversial part is the portion crossing through Lake Oahe, the main source of water for this tribe. New arguments regarding the importance of clean water to practice their religion have recently been made, KOLO-TV explains.

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In his decision on Mar. 14, Judge Boasberg noted that the opposition does not have a strong case while also citing President Donald Trump's executive order and demands to complete the pipeline, The Associated Press reported.

Furthermore, the judge stated that the denial of the Sioux's right to practice religion argument had been made far too late. He even went on to say that the court "acknowledges that the tribe is likely to suffer irreparable harm to its members’ religious exercise if oil is introduced into the pipeline, but Dakota Access would also be substantially harmed by an injunction, given the financial and logistical injuries that would ensue," Reuters reports.

But since when is "too late" a reason to deny proper due process when information has been brought to the court's attention?

Boasberg's statement in this recent overturn, which says that any future appeals made by the tribes would likely be rejected, even further delegitimizes our judicial system.

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This shutting down of free speech and denying the opposition's right to fair trial is abhorrent and should be investigated.

The federal judge, who is openly silencing the tribes, should be reconsidered so long as he's shown bias and unwillingness to fairly consider both arguments.

And, as it is obvious that due process is being denied, Judge Boasberg should insure that no oil flow would occur until a fair trial has commenced and, even then, only if the tribes lost.

The Dakota Access Pipeline controversy has brought thousands of activists to North Dakota and has resulted in heavy police presence.

There have been nearly 750 arrests, many of which have been called to question whether excessive force or intimidation by police has been used, the AP reports.

Click here for the opposing view on this topic.

Sources: AP, Reuters, KOLO-TV / Photo credit: Navajo Nation Washington Office Via Indian Country Media Network

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