On Sunday the Army Corps of Engineers announced that the Dakota Access Pipeline must be rerouted. This comes after months of protesting about the fact that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was scheduled to cross under Lake Oahe, and very close to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s federal reservation.
The Standing Rock Sioux opposed the pipeline because the feared that it could be hazardous and damage the water supply of their reservation nearby. This after there has already been various pipeline breakages that have polluted nearby lands, rivers and lakes, despite the oil company stating that the pipeline was very safe.
There were tears of joy, chanting and drumming as the Standing Rock Sioux and the thousands of supporters that had joined them over the past months, including around 2,000 Vets just last week, but they are cautiously optimistic. Tribal leaders are still worried that the decision to change direction may not be permanent, particularly as both the incoming Trump administration and backers of the pipeline seek to push the project ahead.
“We are asking our supporters to keep up the pressure, because while President Obama has granted us a victory today, that victory isn’t guaranteed in the next administration,” Dallas Goldtooth, lead organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, said in a statement. “More threats are likely in the year to come, and we cannot stop until this pipeline is completely and utterly defeated, and our water and climate are safe.”
While the Army Corps of Engineers said it will not grant a permit to allow the proposed pipeline to cross under the lake, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners, the corporations behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, have already made a statement saying that they “fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe.”
According to Jan Hasselman, an Earthjustice staff attorney representing the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the decision by the Corps of Engineers would be useful in a court challenge, and they are prepared to challenge any attempt by the incoming administration to forge ahead with the pipeline regardless.