ELKO — The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., denied the Summit Lake Paiute Tribe’s emergency motion to block work on a 40-mile portion of the Ruby Pipeline northwest of Winnemucca.

The tribe isn’t giving up, however, according to attorney Colette Routel, an assistant professor at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn., who is helping the tribe.

“The tribe is filing an emergency motion for a stay in the 9th Circuit today,” she said Monday.

The tribe has actions in both appeals courts over El Paso Corp.’s Ruby Pipeline Project that extends from Wyoming to Oregon, including in Elko, Humboldt and Washoe counties in Nevada.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is in San Francisco.

The appeals court in Washington, D.C., lifted a temporary stay on the project Friday when it issued its decision to deny the tribe’s emergency motion. The temporary stay was in effect from Jan. 14 to Jan. 28 while the judges decided on the emergency motion.

“Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent standards required for a stay pending court review,” the court document states.

The Summit Lake Paiute Tribe filed a lawsuit in the appeals court in Washington against the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over the environmental impact statement analyzing the pipeline project, after FERC denied a motion to halt the project.

The court still will consider the lawsuit, while refusing to stop the project in the tribal area.

“To the extent petitioners challenge the accuracy of cultural resource reports that were submitted to the commission prior to issuance of the final environmental impact state and argue the FEIS did not analyze the pipeline’s potential impact on historic and cultural resources within a nearby Traditional Cultural Property, petitioners have apparently waived these arguments by not raising them in the petition for rehearing they filed with the commission,” the court document states.

El Paso Corp. spokesman Richard Wheatley said in an e-mail Monday the court document “speaks for itself.”

He said last week El Paso Corp. doesn’t yet have a notice to proceed from FERC or the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for the 40-mile section in question but cultural, environmental or archaeological work continues.

Wheatley said then about 80 of the 680 miles haven’t received approval.

(1) comment


America is engaged in war over oil. Call it what you want, it amounts to OIL ! (energy) We are building a pipeline to bring clean, cheap energy accross the country and there is always someone that pitches a fit. Over what ? A few arrowheads ? Come to the party. It is time to grow up and get real about priorities. Save some arrowheads or save some soldiers lives. The more we make this project cost, the more the consumer will have to pay.

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