ALERT: Feds Block Dakota Access Pipeline, Hand Protesters a Win
After a spate of protests that sometimes turned violent, it seems that those who are against the Dakota Access Pipeline project have been handed a huge victory from the government.
According to The Hill, the Army Corps of Engineers will not issue the final set of permits needed to begin work on a controversial section of the pipeline, instead saying it will conduct an environmental impact review and see if there is an alternative to crossing the Missouri River.
The announcement comes one day before a standing order to remove protesters from the protest site on Standing Rock tribal land in North Dakota would have taken effect.
“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” a statement from Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy read.
“The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
Pipeline protesters were relieved.
“We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing,” Standing Rock tribal Chairman Dave Archambault said.
According to the BBC, the two companies involved in building the Dakota Pipeline — Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics — said the move was a “purely political action.” They added that the administration was “in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency,” apparently referring to both the Native American rights activists and the knee-jerk leftists who had coalesced around the movement.
The Standing Rock tribe and its supporters argue that they weren’t properly consulted with on the project or its impact and that the pipeline’s route through tribal land threatens their water supply and runs over sacred ground.
According to The Daily Signal, however, both the companies and the Army Corps of Engineers claim that they “consulted with 55 Native American tribes at least 389 times, after which they proposed 140 variations of the route to avoid culturally sensitive areas in North Dakota. The logical time for Standing Rock tribal leaders to share their concerns would have been at these meetings, not now when construction is already near completion.”