| WASHINGTON, Sept 9
WASHINGTON, Sept 9 A U.S. federal judge is
expected to rule on Friday on whether to halt construction of a
crude oil pipeline in North Dakota that is opposed by Native
Americans who say it would pollute nearby rivers and desecrate
their sacred land.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Tuesday partly granted
a restraining order sought by Native American tribes against
Dakota Access, the company building the pipeline.
Over the weekend, protests at the construction site turned
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault said
on Tuesday he was "disappointed" by Boasberg's ruling, which
halted construction of the pipeline in some, but not all parts
of North Dakota, where the tribes say they have sacred sites.
The $3.7 billion, 1,100-mile (1,770 km) Dakota Access
pipeline would be the first to allow movement of crude oil from
the Bakken shale, a vast oil formation in North Dakota, Montana
and parts of Canada. The group of companies building the
pipeline is led by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP
through its Dakota Access subsidiary.
It would carry oil from just north of land owned by the
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to Illinois, where it would connect
with an existing pipeline and route crude directly to refineries
in the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Over the weekend, prior to the temporary halt, a clash
between tribal members, other protesters and security guards
resulted in an altercation with security dogs biting people.
On Thursday, a handful of U.S. lawmakers wrote to President
Barack Obama about the matter, calling on the administration to
intervene in the recent escalation of violence. "We oppose and
condemn unjustified violence against protestors in the strongest
possible terms," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Obama.
North Dakota's governor has activated 100 National Guard
troops in anticipation of the expected ruling by the judge.
The head of a group of tribal leaders in the Dakotas and
Nebraska said her group asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta
Lynch to send federal monitors to the protest site. A. Gay
Kingman, executive director of the group, said she was told by
the Justice Department that monitors were already present at the
site. The department did not respond to requests for comment.
(Additional reporting by Julia Harte in Washington and Ben
Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Matthew