The US Army Corp of Engineers, which has been keeping close watch on the protests happening in Standing Rock, North Dakota, decided today that the Dakota Access Pipeline will not pass through the reservation.
"Today, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline," Standing Rock Sioux Tribal chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement. "Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes."
"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. It took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful."
The Army's Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy says alternative routes for the pipeline need to be explored. On Nov 14, her office delayed the decision on the pipeline's placement in order to discuss the issue more with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation is half a mile south of the proposed location.
"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," Darcy said in a statement on the Army's website. "The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing."
The 1,172-mile long Dakota Access Pipeline would have carried 20 million gallons of oil across the area every day, threatening the integrity of drinking water there. Tribe members have argued in court that the DAPL "crosses areas of great historical and cultural significance...waters of utmost cultural, spiritual, ecological, and economic significance." The pipeline was originally planned to route through the mostly white city of Bismarck, but residents opposed it on the grounds that it threatened their water supply.
This announcement marks a major win for the Standing Rock Sioux and the demonstrators who have been camped out at the reservation since August, marched on Washington, sent letters to officials, been subjected to police violence and stayed on through dangerous weather conditions.