Two Native American tribes are suing the Trump administration in order to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
In 2017, the U.S. State Department granted TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, a permit to begin the project. The pipeline is set to run 1,200 miles. In August 2018, the department ordered the administration to conduct a full environmental review of a revised path for the pipeline, according to Teen Vogue.
Activists protested the pipeline, which the Obama administration refused to approve, for months ahead of the Trump administration's decision to allow the project to go ahead.
Native Americans living along the proposed pipeline route claimed the project would poison their groundwater and violate sacred sites. That claim is at the center of the new lawsuit being brought against the Trump administration.
The Fort Belknap Indian Community of Montana and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota claim the administration failed to conduct an effective study on how the pipeline would affect their sacred land and water supply, NPR reports. The suit further claims the project violates land agreements the government has with the Native community.
"There was no analysis of trust obligations, no analysis of treaty rights, no analysis of the potential impact on hunting and fishing rights, no analysis of potential impacts on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe's unique water system, no analysis of the potential impact of spills on tribal citizens, and no analysis of the potential impact on cultural sites in the path of the pipeline, which is in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act," the Native American Rights Fund wrote in a statement.
The lawsuit notes there have been documented contamination issues stemming from the existing Keystone Pipeline in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. Promises to prevent spills and preserve natural resources around that line were made prior to its construction. However, the Keystone Pipeline has spilled at least 210,000 gallons of oil, reports the Washington Post.
According to the Associated Press, TransCanada (which was not named as a defendant in the suit) has refused to comment on the litigation. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is named as a defendant; State Department spokesperson Julia Mason said the department is not releasing a public response.
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