WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers today announced they are delaying an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline project until it conducts further environmental review with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The Corp noted that “construction on or under Corps land bordering Lake Oahe cannot occur because the Army has not made a final decision on whether to grant an easement.”
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair Dave Archambault II said while the decision was not 100 percent what the Tribe had hoped for he said it is clear President Obama is listening. “We are encouraged and know that the peaceful prayer and demonstration at Standing Rock have powerfully brought to light the unjust narrative suffered by tribal nations and Native Americans across the country,” Archambault said.
“Together we can inspire people across America and the globe to honor each other and the Earth we hold sacred,” Archambault said. “Millions of people have literally and spiritually stood with us at Standing Rock. And for this, you have our deepest thanks and gratitude. The harmful and dehumanizing tactics by the state of North Dakota and corporate bullies did not go unnoticed because of you. Not all of our prayers were answered, but this time, they were heard.”
The 1,100-mile pipeline was rerouted towards tribal nations after citizens of North Dakota rightfully rejected it to protect their communities and water. While the pipeline is nearly complete, it required the final easement to drill under the Missouri River (at Lake Oahe) just a half a mile upstream of the tribe’s reservation boundary. The water supply of the Tribe and 17 million Americans downstream are at risk for contamination by crude oil leaks and spills. A single spill would be culturally and economically catastrophic for the Tribe. The Missouri River is the longest river in North America and crosses several states south of the project.
“We call on all water protectors, as we have from the beginning, to join our voices in prayer and to share our opposition to this pipeline peacefully. The whole world is watching and where they see prayerful, peaceful resistance, they join us,” Archambault said.