A federal judge in a court hearing on Thursday denied an American Tribe their request that the construction of an oil pipeline underneath Lake Sakakawea be stopped.
The Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota ordered last month that the construction of Paradigm Energy Partners’ Sacagawea Pipeline be halted, claiming the pipeline company did not receive the tribal group’s consent to build the pipeline underneath the lake.
Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland temporarily allowed construction to continue. In the hearing on Thursday, Hovland refused to stop construction again and will rule within the next few weeks on whether Paradigm Energy should have received consent from the tribal groups and if the project can move forward.
Paradigm Energy says it received federal permission to build the pipeline beneath the lake from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also received approval from the North Dakota Public Service Commission back in January.
The Three Affiliated Tribes argue they own mineral interests under the river bed and therefore must give approval for the pipeline placement under a 1984 accord with the federal government.
The company faces a construction deadline of November 1 and cannot afford any delays, according to Paradigm’s CEO Chris Doss.