The Army Corps of Engineers did not approve the permit for a controversial pipeline project running through North Dakota. Therefore, this is a huge victory for Native Americans and climate activists.
Climate activists and Native Americans celebrated Sunday after the announcement at the main protest area in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Cannon Ball is where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and others have been protesting for months against the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline running through their sacred land.
However, it may be a small victory due to the President-elect Donald Trump saying he supports the project. Policy experts fear he may reverse the decision if he wants to.
Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP owns the pipeline. The line was complete other than a section that would run under Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri River.
That stretch required an easement from government authorities. The Obama administration put a hold on their decision on the permit twice so they could consult with the tribe.
Dave Archambault II, the Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, says he appreciates that there were leaders in the federal government that understand that even though something is legal doesn’t make it right. He also says they are making history, and this is a huge victory and blessing to all the indigenous people.
Jo-Ellen Darcy, The Army Corps assistant secretary for civil works, said although they have discussed new information with Dakota Access and the Standing Rock Sioux, there’s clearly more work to do. The responsible way to complete that work is to find alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.
As the news spread in the protest camp in Cannon Ball, cheering broke out. Federal officials had given activists a Monday deadline to vacate the camp due to plunging temperatures.
However, the company behind the project, Energy Transfer Partners, condemned the decision Sunday night saying it was pure political action.
In a statement, the company said The White House’s directive for further delay is just the latest of many transparent political actions. They abandon the rule of law for currying favor with a narrow and extreme political nation.
The pipeline route would have gone right through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, crossing the Missouri River. Many people say the pipeline would negatively affect drinking water and aggravate sacred tribal sites.
The Obama administration requested Energy Transfer Partners to stop the construction multiple times. However, the installment of hyper-shaft lights a month ago shows that they rejected the demand.
Senator John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, says the decision violates the rule of law and doesn’t resolve the issue. Instead, they pass the choice off to the next organization, which say they will support the easement, and meanwhile maintains a difficult situation for residents of North Dakota.