Further, the Standing Rock Sioux (who have led the headline-grabbing protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline for almost a year) claim that installing the pipeline has damaged and even destroyed ancient sacred sites, including burial grounds.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said he would not grant a temporary restraining order against the project sought by a South Dakota tribe who argues the pipeline threatens their religious waters.
Last week, the Cheyenne River Sioux filed a motion for a restraining order, claiming that the U.S.
The tribe took legal action on Thursday to temporarily halt construction of the Dakota Access pipeline after the US Army Corps of Engineers granted the easement needed to immediately resume work on the final phase of the $3.7 billion pipeline.
The developer, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) has completed most of the pipeline, and began work on the final section after the army gave it permission to proceed on Wednesday.
In a separate court filing last week, the Sioux also asked the court for a preliminary injunction that would direct the Army to withdraw the easement permit, which it claims is unlawful under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
"We are contending that the waters of Lake Oahe are sacred to Cheyenne River and all of its members, and that the very presence of a pipeline, not only construction but possible oil flow through that pipeline, would obstruct the free exercise of our religious practices."
The company further asserts that any further delays in completing the pipeline would cost it tens of millions of dollars, deprive the public of tax revenue, and require oil producers in North Dakota to continue shipping crude by less safe methods, according to the court documents. Some have been here since April, their numbers fluctuating between hundreds and thousands, in an unprecedented show of joint resistance to the almost 1,200 mile-long Dakota Access oil pipeline.
Seeking to stop construction, tribes argue Dakota Access Pipeline endangers water supply, religious freedom.
Other legal challenges to the pipeline are proceeding before Boasberg.
The Yankton Sioux Tribe, which has a separate case before Boasberg challenging the pipeline, filed papers on Monday saying it planned to resume briefing on an "expedited basis". The Army Corps of Engineers on February 8 granted the approvals needed for construction to continue, in the form of an easement to go through federal lands.
Protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline have yet to publicly comment on Monday's decision, or if protesters will continue attempts to remain at their camps if the Army attempts to remove them later this month.