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Just to make it abundantly clear the USA stoled its territory fair and square, a federal appeals court in Washington DC ruled Sunday night to allow continued construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, rejecting claims by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe that the pipeline would destroy some of its sacred sites.

In a two-page ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the tribe's request for a permanent injunction to block the $3.7 billion, 1,170-mile pipeline, which would transport 470,000 barrels of oil a day across four states. The pipeline would run within a half-mile of the tribe's reservation, which straddles the North and South Dakota border.

The ruling allows Energy Transfer Partners -- the Dallas-based company funding the project — to move forward with construction of the pipeline on all privately owned land up to the Missouri River. Construction had been halted by a temporary injunction issued in late August, which prohibited construction 20 miles east and west of the river, the tribe's main water source.

The decision came one day before Columbus Day, or if you prefer (and we do) Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which at least acknowledges who bore the burden of that little venture to find new lands to exploit.

Ah, but now the good news: The tribe is still pursuing a broader lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, arguing the Corps had not consulted adequately with them as required under the National Historic Preservation Act. The DC court acknowledged its Sunday decision was "not the final word" on whether construction of the pipeline would go forward, since the Corps of Engineers has final say.

While it said the tribe hadn't met the strict requirements of the act to force a halt to construction, the three-judge panel said it "can only hope that the spirit" of the act "may yet prevail."

[wonkbar][/wonkbar]Considering that last month, the Corps of Engineers was one of three federal agencies -- the other were the Justice and Interior Departments -- to announce they would not allow further construction on federally owned land, that may ultimately mean the pipeline could still be blocked. Standing Rock tribal Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said the court's decision was "disappointing," but that protests by tribes and allies from across the country would continue. "We aren't done with this fight," he told NBC News. Archambault said the court's observation that its decision wasn't the final word was a signal "not to proceed" with construction.

"It seems they are coming to the same conclusion as the federal government in acknowledging there is something wrong with the approvals for the pipeline," he said. "We see this as an encouraging sign."

The Huffington Post says Sunday's ruling

addresses only work in the 20-mile area around Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Soon after the three-judge panel handed down its decision, the Associated Press reported that the departments of the Interior and Justice, as well as the Army, announced that no construction on federal land would be allowed within that buffer zone around the lake.

Energy Transfer Partners can still resume building on private land in the area, although the three federal agencies have asked them to voluntarily suspend work until a final decision is reached by the Corps of Engineers, which could still be several weeks away.

Protests at pipeline construction sites continued Monday, resulting in 26 arrests, including that of actress Shailene Woodley, who Yr Wonkette hadn't heard of but now likes, even if she was in that dumb Oliver Stone Snowden movie. At least she has better choices in causes than in directors.

[NBC News / ThinkProgress / HuffPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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