Judge rejects Native American tribes request to halt Dakota Access pipeline work

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their supporters gather in a circle in the center of camp to hear speakers and singers, at a protest encampment near Cannon Ball, North Dakota where members of the tribe and their supporters have gathered to voice their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), September 3, 2016. Drive on a state highway along the Missouri River, amid the rolling hills and wide prairies of North Dakota, and you'll come across a makeshift camp of Native Americans -- united by a common cause. Members of some 200 tribes have gathered here, many raising tribal flags that flap in the unforgiving wind. Some have been here since April, their numbers fluctuating between hundreds and thousands, in an unprecedented show of joint resistance to the nearly 1,200 mile-long Dakota Access oil pipeline. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A judge has rejected a request by two American Indian tribes to halt construction of the remaining section of the Dakota Access oil pipeline until their lawsuit over the project is resolved.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, in Washington, D.C., issued his ruling Monday. He says he’ll consider the request more thoroughly at a Feb. 27 hearing.

The Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux requested the temporary injunction last week after Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners got federal permission to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota. That’s the last big section of the $3.8 billion pipeline that would need to be constructed before it could carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois.

The tribes say the pipeline would endanger their cultural sites and water supply. They added a religious freedom component to their case last week by arguing that clean water is necessary to practice the Sioux religion.

The company called the religion argument a “last-minute delay tactic.”