Today marks a huge victory for those of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Controversy and protest has followed the Dakota Access Pipeline route proposal for months, mainly due to the threat that it posed to the drinking water supply of the Sioux tribe by running under the Missouri River. The proposal has stirred the action of hundreds since the beginning, and the resistance has only grown since then. In what seemed like a standoff that would last longer than anyone could have anticipated, a decision has been made in favor of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
According to a report by CBS News, the Army Corps of Engineers has denied the right for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Missouri River next to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Such an event brought joy to the hundreds of individuals that stood together against the proposed plan, as their cries have been heard by government officials and acted on.
The relief is most likely tangible to those who have stood in protest over the past few months. Over the course of the protest, many have suffered loss and injury at the hands of the authorities. Reports of tear gas and the use of water cannons by law enforcement rolled in near the end of November, along with at least one arrest. Still, protesters continued to stand their ground in the hopes that the Dakota Access Pipeline would be denied. While this may not be the end of the matter, a victory of this caliber could be a foot in the door.
Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy issued a statement in regards to the decision to deny the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“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 began. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
The 1,170-mile pipeline project will be put under review. With this in mind, those at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation are ensured a water supply that will not be compromised. Since the proposal of the Dakota Access Pipeline, they have sued against permitting decisions for the project. At the same time, protesters have implored President Obama to assist with the halt of the pipeline and any similar machination. Unfortunately, further advancements toward the project seem to have been unmoved by the Obama administration’s request for the pipeline to be halted voluntarily.
In a report by The Hill, the decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to deny the Dakota Access Pipeline may not be a permanent fix to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. There’s still the matter of President-elect Donald Trump’s alliance with Energy Transfer Partners, who have dismissed the Sioux tribe’s protests. Could Donald Trump’s new position of power tip the scales in favor of the Dakota Access Pipeline being built through its original route? Only time will tell. Regardless, the review of the impact that the pipeline will have and the proposal of finding alternate routes grants hope to those threatened by the project.
Tribal chairman Dave Archambault had this to say in response to the decision made to deny the Dakota Access Pipeline’s current path.
“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.”
Though the project is on its way to completion, protesters and those within the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation will undoubtedly enjoy this moment and hope that this foothold victory will remain.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]