Judge Sides with Energy Company; Allows Pipeline Work Under Lake Sakakawea to Continue

Sakakawea Pipeline Debated_1474043322935.jpg

A federal judge is allowing work to continue on a pipeline project that will carry gas underneath Lake Sakakawea.

Paradigm Energy Partners and members of the Three Affiliated Tribes, including its chairman, Mark Fox, have been in a legal battle over the project since mid August.

Fox and others from the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribe have been trying to stop work on the pipeline claiming the tribe owns the mineral rights underneath the lake.

Fox told Judge Daniel Hovland the tribe is concerned the pipeline could leak at some point and his tribe has the right to make sure the ground under the lake is undisturbed.

In an order siding with Paradigm Energy, Judge Hovland says the company showed it had gone through the legal process and received an easement and right-of-way from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He also recognized that Paradigm Energy would face irreparable harm if work was stopped at this point in the process.

A representative of the company told the judge in a hearing on Sept. 1 it would likely go out of business if construction did not continue.

Here’s a timeline of events in the court case:

Fox filed a Cease and Desist Order against Paradigm and its contractors on Aug. 8. 

Paradigm responded by filing a motion for a temporary restraining order against Fox on Aug. 19.

Fox filed a motion to dissolve that order on Aug. 30.

Hovland heard testimony from both sides at a hearing in Bismarck on Sept. 1 (story here: http://www.myndnow.com/news/bismarck-news/no-decision-yet-on-pipeline-under-lake-sakakawea)

Hovland’s latest order siding with Paradigm was issued on Sep. 13.

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