Major victory: Federal Judge Rules in Favor of American Indian Plaintiffs: Natural Gas Line Ordered Removed from Land

 In a major victory for American Indian land rights, a federal judge on Tuesday, ordered Enable Midstream Partners and its affiliates to remove a natural gas pipeline from 38 American Indian land owners’ property near Anadarko, Oklahoma. A tract of the land is part of the Kiowa Tribes of Oklahoma.

The Order was entered today in the Davilla v. Enable Midstream Partners, L.P., et al., Case No. CIV-15-1262-M (Western District of Oklahoma) case. The 38 Native American land owners are represented by attorneys David C. Smith, Dustin T. Greene, and Catherine F. Munson of Kilpatrick Townsend.

Plaintiffs are enrolled members of the Comanche, Caddo, Apache, Cherokee, and Kiowa Tribes of Oklahoma.

Between 1980 and 2000, Enable operated the pipeline on Plaintiffs’ land pursuant to an easement granted to it by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”). The Court found that Enable’s easement expired in 2000, yet Enable continued operate the pipeline without an easement, putting it in trespass and leading to the filing of Plaintiffs’ lawsuit.

On Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and for a Permanent Injunction, the Court found that “plaintiffs have objected to the renewal of the easement and defendants’ continued use of the pipeline from the time defendants first sought the renewal of the easement,” and that Enable and its predecessor, Enogex, had failed to comply with any of the federal statutes under which they could have secured a valid easement.

The Court also noted that “on March 23, 2010, more than five and a half years before the instant action was filed” the BIA instructed Enogex that “[i]f valid approval of a right of way for this tract is not timely secured, Enogex should be directed to move the pipeline off the subject property.” Yet, “defendants have done nothing to move the pipeline off the tract ….”

With the entry of this Order, the only issue that remains in the case is damages for Enable’s trespass since 2000. This decision marks a significant victory for Native American land rights.

Responses to "Judge orders removal of gas pipeline on Native American land in Oklahoma"

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. A welcome blow against Corporate hegemony.

  3. Finally some righteousness. Bravo to the judge! This brings great hope to #RESISTANCE

  4. Unknown says:

    A judge that sees law and order as it should be. Those at fault should be made to face the consequences of their actions, or the failings of such actions. Thank you Your Honour, for seeing logic and fairness in such a case of legal concern to so many people, not the favouritism of the 1% corporate wealth society.

  5. When the Creator heres Our Prayers, and Has Seen Our Tears, Amazing things starts to happen. "Thank You Creator" for your love for your children, Creator is the Light of Our Native paths that we walk all day long....Mvto

  6. Unknown says:

    You have some stragglers who follow your fight and support you in every way we know how...

  7. Unknown says:

    As happens for abused women in court, the Native Americans find a painful and almost a Pyrrhic victory in courts. I wish them and, by association and interconnection, Us all the best in making this pipe removal happen. I hope this battle creates more male allies and female feminists to strip this system of dominance and its violent ways down to its roots, and create a governance under the banner of CARE, not capitalism, designed to support care #EthicsofCare

  8. Unknown says:

    Good.....someone has sense.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The big corporate companies shouldn't be allowed to put their machinery, equipment, their worker's, or their pipelines on Native American lands that have been reserved for Native Americans reason being the white man has taken too much from all the tribes all across this amazing beautiful country, & that's great news that there's actually good judiciary officials taking g a stand for human rights, & not only that, but for a great amazing Native Americans that have been here long before any white settlers took the land from the Native Americans who gave been on this side of the world for thousands of year's

  10. Prayers are being answered, so we must give Thanks to," Our Creator" who Hears and Protects, what's truly belongs to Him and doesn't not belong to man. We are the Caretakers of this land. We stand in the GAP for future generations coming up to take over when we are gone. RAISE them right and we live forever....Blessings...

  11. Unknown says:

    careful people look at brazil...dun took yer land once

  12. Poola54 says:


  13. A positive win for human and native American rights!

  14. Wonderful news!!

  15. Wonderful news!!

  16. Mudrake2 says:

    Sounds like a great missed opportunity to earn money by leasing the easement to the operators. But of course Native Americans have never been very good at negotiations with regard to land and commerce. They prefer to sit in their own filth and cling to victim hood. I know, I've tried to work with various tribes in Oklahoma and elsewhere to provide good temporary jobs and got no takers. BTW both my kids are card carrying Cherokee tribe members. Tribes seem to want to cut their noses off to spite their faces.

  17. Unknown says:

    This is a good start. It should f happend years ago.

  18. Susan says:

    There is some confusion as to when this happened, citing an article about this judgment being partially repealed by a higher court. A date for this would be helpful. If this is the final outcome - how wonderful!!

  19. I live in Anadarko. As far as I know they haven't started removing the pipeline yet around the Apache Y area.

  20. Unknown says:

    Let this stand!

  21. Unknown says:

    I hope the punitive damages awarded will be enough to secure the comfort of the tribes for many decades to come.

  22. Jim N says:

    This ruling was made in 2017. Has the pipeline been removed? Has Enable appealed the ruling?

  23. Unknown says:

    Aho! Congratulations!!! Are the tribes watching to be sure they remove it properly? Neither the company nor the government are to be trusted to do the right thing. We the people have to be vigilant all the way. Here in Virginia we have developed an extensive compliance surveillance for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines that our Department of Environmental Quality is envious of - very unfortunately, because this means they don't have the capacity [funding, labor, or tools] to do the job properly. We have to do it!

  24. Unknown says:

    One small step for mankind, one giant step for Native Americans!

  25. Jan says:

    Addressing "Susan" and "Jim N", have either of you heard any more about when this verdict became enforceable, or any other information about appeals?
    I saw a semi-political post earlier this week where the poster wanted people to write in and get involved. It turns out that the issue was addressed 4 years before, with no update on how it was finally resolved. I hate to get involved when the information is not current and accurate.

  26. Unknown says:

    Yay, make it happen!

  27. Unknown says:

    Thank You GOD and All The Guardians of our Native Americans across this country. Thank you to the JUDGE that has made this possible. Hopefully ALL JUDGES will be as good as this one.

  28. Unknown says:

    awesome news A'ho

  29. Unknown says:


  30. this long awaited victory is hopefully the beginning of many many more!!! For if men in govt's continue to kill our great mother - we humans will indeed perish along with her.

  31. Unknown says:

    We as citizens of this country have an obligation to the native Americans to enable their descendents to live in reasonable prosperity for the outright stealing of their lands, and murder of innocent families in our quest to have the biggest ranch and the most cattle in the west. This same applies to the corporate takeover and domination of our traditional family farms in America

  32. Anonymous says:

    A battle has been won, but not the war! Judgements are wins, yet the legal system provides many avenues for such to never come to fruition; hence, several questions follow suit:
    1) When did Enable's law team file against the judgement?
    2) How many years was given to remove the pipeline (if outlined in the judgement.)
    3) Damages/$+Penalties/$ can easily be eaten up in legal fees while continuing to battle in the courts for the safe keeping of Native American lands.
    4) From a prudent strategic view of realistic goals & rewards for our many Native American tribes current legal battles, might there be some other way to
    win "some of the war" rather than just more and more battles that seem to take our peoples tragically no where!

    Member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Oklahoma

  33. Anonymous says:

    Time to disconnect everybody on those tribal lands from the natural gas pipeline system. If nobody wants a pipeline on their property, have fun paying 10x the price for propane or electricity. Of course, they electrical lines also require an easement, better take them down too.

  34. Anonymous says:
    The case was appealed. While the District courts ruling was upheld, the court order to remove the pipeline was reversed.

  35. pmhorler says:

    Remove the oipeline now !

  36. GetREal! says:

    If it is the laws that did it, it is the right kind of law, to protect the land and its people. This creates a feeling of respect.

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