Chicago (AFP) - A US federal judge on Friday denied a request by a Native American tribe to halt an oil pipeline in North Dakota over fears the project could endanger its drinking water.
US District Judge James Boasberg sided with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the pipeline's developer Energy Transfer Partners, ruling that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe "has not shown it will suffer injury" if the pipeline's construction underneath the Missouri River is allowed to proceed.
The tribe filed a lawsuit against the Corps, saying it did not adequately consider the potential environmental impacts of the project.
The battle has galvanized Native American tribes throughout the US, in a months-long protest that has garnered worldwide attention.
Members of some 200 tribes and supporters have gathered for months at a North Dakota camp site near the pipeline's planned route, some as early as April, to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Ahead of the judge's decision, tribe chairman David Archambault released a statement urging protesters to remain peaceful.
"We call upon all water protectors to greet any decision with peace and order. Even if the outcome of the court's ruling is not in our favor, we will continue to explore every lawful option and fight against the construction of the pipeline," Archambault said.