The US government has stepped into a dispute over an oil pipeline in North Dakota, blocking its construction on federal tribal lands. It also asked the company behind it to “pause” action on a wider stretch held sacred by a Native American tribe. The government order came shortly after a district judge denied a request to halt construction on the pipeline.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is opposed by over 200 Native American groups who fear its impact on waterways. The $3.7bn (£2.8bn) project will pass through four states, close to lands that are sacred to members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. But only minutes earlier, US District Judge James Boasberg ruled that a decision to fast-track the pipeline project was not illegal.
The federal government then in effect overruled the judge, calling on the Texas-based company to voluntarily halt construction temporarily within 20 miles of Lake Oahe, which is considered sacred to the regional native tribes.