This has been a major issue and has been on the news for weeks now. Both sides obviously have their reasons. My question is, who has the legal right to the land? I heard Congress appropriated the Sioux tribes. If this is the case and the Sioux still own the land and did not approve of the pipeline than they have the right. Who is this oil company and wouldn't be more sensible to go around the land rather cause all the uproar? Unless the federal government declared imminent domain and took the land by force which I did not hear about.

  • The issue isn't about land ownership. There are two primary issues: risking the missouri river (the area's only drinking water) and a lawsuit against the army corp of engineers for not fully vetting the plan and considering native land considerations. – user1530 Oct 30 '16 at 17:26

My question is, who has the legal right to the land?

At the moment, the pipeline. Land ownership isn't what is being protested. Rather, there are two primary concerns:

  1. The pipeline will go under the Missouri River. This river is the primary drinking water for the region. Pipelines are known to leak.

  2. The tribe feels the Army Corp of Engineering didn't fully investigate the situation before granting permits and that they ignored federal requirements to involve the local tribes in the process.

(And there's a much broader, less direct 3rd issue which is environmentalism activism against any facilitation of increased oil production)


The conflict also needs to be put into the context of history as well, where the US and the Indian Nations haven't always had the best relationships in terms of land agreements.


Energy Transfers Partners owns the land, free and clear.

Police have removed protesters from land owned by pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners in North Dakota.


Note that the pipeline is only "near" Sioux lands, same source

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters have been protesting the pipeline since it was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over the summer. They are specifically trying to block the portion that is slated to run under the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

On the one hand, you have a group that is criminally trespassing, violent, and doing massive damage to private property. The other, after winning all court battles, is trying to develop private property for productive use. I will let you decide who is being more "sensible".

  • Short answer is no, the Army owns some of it believe or not. npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/09/493280504/… – K Dog Oct 30 '16 at 15:23
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    Their concern lies with running the pipes underneath the river and possibly contaminating it. Who owned the land before ETP 'purchased' it? – Noah Oct 30 '16 at 15:51

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