The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has issued a statement with regard to the continuing impasse between the Tribe and Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“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,” Dave Archambault II, the Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman, said in the statement.
USA Today described the U.S. Army’s DAPL move as putting a “halt” to construction of the controversial project underneath Lake Oahe, described as a “reservoir behind” the Missouri River. The Lake Oahe section of the pipeline is said to be one of the last left incomplete, with the majority of the rest of the DAPL already finished.
U.S. Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning was reported to have contacted the leaders of the Tribe of the intent of the administration to put a stop to construction of the pipeline.
Archambault’s release states that instead of crossing the lake, the U.S. Army-DAPL plan now includes an “environmental impact statement” to analyze the suitability of other pipeline routes.
If completed, the proposed, partially constructed pipeline is intended to transport shale oil from the Bakken oil fields, 1,172 miles to an oil tank farm located Patoka, Illinois, through Iowa and South Dakota.
Jo-Ellen Darcy, the assistant secretary for civil works with the U.S. Army, spoke about the military’s intent to work together with the Standing Rock Tribe to find “alternate routes” other than underneath Lake Oahe.
Sixty-three-year-old member of the Standing Rock Sioux Geraldine Agard was said to credit the decision by the Army to a prayer circle conducted earlier in the day, thought to have potentially been the largest ever. Ms. Agard described being “in shock,” but also “thrilled.”
Celebrations were said to have erupted at the protest site with the news about the DAPL, halted construction, and thoughts toward the futures, including drum circles and fires.
However, not all observers felt satisfied with the news.
“They say one thing and do another,” a member of Standing Rock Sioux known as Ghost was quoted by USA Today.
— Sally Jewell (@SecretaryJewell) December 4, 2016
“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,” the Sioux release with regard to the U.S. Army-Standing Rock situation states.
The Standing Rock Sioux expressed hope that President-elect Donald Trump and North Dakota Jack Governor Dalrymple will “respect this decision and understand the complex process” that has led the U.S Army and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to this point.
It has been noted that Donald Trump could overturn the move by the Obama administration once he has taken office on January 20.
The Tribe specifically addressed tensions that had mounted between members and the many law enforcement agencies involved in the Standing Rock DAPL conflict, stating a desire that the two groups can “heal our relationship” and continue to ensure the “safety” and “protect the lives” of people involved.
The statement continues, describing a system “stacked” against the Tribe and the courage displayed by President Obama and his administration.
A pro-pipeline lobbyist, Craig Stevens with the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now, called the move by the Army Corp of Engineers a “rejection” of the involved judicial system and regulatory systems.
Stevens professed a hope that this is not the “final word” on the Dakota Access Pipeline and noted that President-elect Trump will take office in 47 days.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]