Construction of the Dakota Access pipeline has been temporarily halted at the request of three government agencies, despite a federal court's ruling that construction can continue.
In an opinion issued Friday afternoon, District Judge James Boasberg said the pipeline would not cause irreparable harm to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The tribe had sought the injunction because it would cross the Missouri River upstream from its tribal lands, meaning a leak could endanger its water supply and sully sacred lands.
The tribe also accused the Army Corps of Engineers of not consulting with the tribe enough regarding the pipeline's construction.
But while the judge stated he would allow construction to continue, three government agencies stepped in to make sure that wouldn't happen. The Departments of Justice and Interior and the Army Corps issued a joint statement saying they would not allow construction of the pipeline on Corps land until it determines if any previous decisions must be reviewed.
"Construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time," the statement read. "The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution.
"In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe."
The 1,172-mile pipeline would run from the oil fields of North Dakota to Illinois. It's expected to transport about 470,000 barrels per day of light, sweet crude oil.
Boasberg ruled that the tribe had not shown that its sacred lands could be harmed by the pipeline, because it would not cross areas identified as important, and that the Corps did more than enough to engage the tribe in the permitting process.
However, the case exposed bigger problems, according to the government.
The departments added that they want to have a "serious discussion" on nationwide reform dealing with the tribe's view on the pipeline project.
The statement said the departments will invite tribes to formal talks this fall to figure out "what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources and treaty rights; and should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals."
The statements also noted the government's respect for continued nonviolent protest at the construction site and Justice and Interior promised to send resources to the area "to help state, local and tribal authorities, and the communities they serve, better communicate, defuse tensions, support peaceful protest and maintain public safety."