DAPL protesters set up teepees, plan bonfire between Washington Monument and White House
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
Dakota Access Pipeline protesters have taken to the National Mall to deliver their message to America's lawmakers.
The protesters began erecting teepees Tuesday afternoon in between the Washington Monument and the White House.
ABC7's Q McCray reports that protesters are planning on putting up ten teepees and are also planning a bonfire on the National Mall on Wednesday.
McCray reports that the protesters have a permit for both the teepees and one ceremonial bonfire.
The protest comes as a federal judge declined Tuesday to temporarily stop construction of the final section of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline, clearing the way for oil to flow as soon as next week.
The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux had asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw permission for Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners to lay pipe under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The stretch under the Missouri River reservoir in southern North Dakota is the last piece of construction for the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois.
The tribes argued that construction under the lake violates their right to practice their religion, which relies on clean water, and they wanted the work suspended until the claim could be resolved.
When they filed the lawsuit last summer, the tribes argued that the pipeline threatens Native American cultural sites and their water supply. Their religion argument was new, however, and disputed by both the Corps and the company.
Boasberg in his ruling Tuesday said the tribes didn't raise the religion argument in a timely fashion.
"Only once Dakota Access had built up to the water's edge and the Corps had granted the easement (for drilling) to proceed did Cheyenne River inform defendants that the pipeline was the realization of a long-held prophecy about a Black Snake and that the mere presence of oil in the pipeline under the lakebed would interfere with tribe's members' ability to engage in important religious practices," the judge said.
Boasberg said he is likely to allow the tribes to continue making the religion argument, though he doesn't think it's likely to succeed.