The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is telling the Standing Rock Sioux tribe it will deny an easement for the current path of the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
This comes as a protest, organized by a Black Lives Matter activist and LA screenwriter, was set to take place over four days where thousands are already camped out.
Tribal members are protesting, claiming the proposed pipeline could contaminate their drinking water and that it would disturb sacred burial sites.
Jo-Ellen Darcy, Army assistant secretary for civil works, says, “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,” according to NBC News. The Sunday statement continued, “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II stated, “Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes.”
But, if you tuned in last week, we already know that they’ve tried to minimize the risk at every turn. Including increasing pipe thickness and putting control valves at both ends of the crossing. And we also know that the Corps has consulted with 55 Native American tribes at least 389 times before. Which, came after they proposed 140 variations of the route to avoid culturally sensitive areas.
The time for Standing Rock leaders to voice their concerns should have been at those meetings. NOT now when it’s almost completed.
North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple said the Obama Administration’s decision to block the pipeline, “a serious mistake.”
His statement following the announcement reads: “The decision today by the Obama Administration to further postpone any action on the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline is a serious mistake. It does nothing to resolve the issue, and worst of all it prolongs the serious problems faced by North Dakota law enforcement as they try to maintain public safety. The administration’s lack of action also prolongs the dangerous situation of having protesters camping during the winter on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ property.”