A victory on Sunday for several thousand people camped out in North Dakota to block the Dakota Access oil Pipeline. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it won’t grant an easement for the pipeline in southern North Dakota.
Those camped out near the site call themselves “water protectors” and have said for months that the four-state, $3.8 billion project would threaten a water source and cultural sites.
Press release from the US Army Corp of Engineers:
The Department of the Army will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Works announced today.
Jo-Ellen Darcy said she based her decision on a need to explore alternate routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing. Her office had announced on November 14, 2016 that it was delaying the decision on the easement to allow for discussions with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies 0.5 miles south of the proposed crossing. Tribal officials have expressed repeated concerns over the risk that a pipeline rupture or spill could pose to its water supply and treaty rights.
“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. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
Darcy said that the consideration of alternative routes would be best accomplished through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is an approximately 1,172 mile pipeline that would connect the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to an existing crude oil terminal near Pakota, Illinois. The pipeline is 30 inches in diameter and is projected to transport approximately 470,000 barrels of oil per day, with a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels.
The current proposed pipeline route would cross Lake Oahe, an Army Corps of Engineers project on the Missouri River.
— Sally Jewell (@SecretaryJewell) December 4, 2016
— ABC News (@ABC) December 4, 2016
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.), co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, released the following statement after the United States Army Corps of Engineers announced that it is denying the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline and requiring a full environmental impact statement for the project:
“I applaud the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to conduct a more thorough review of the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. A full environmental impact statement will appropriately consider the significant environmental and cultural concerns raised by the Standing Rock Sioux. Today’s decision also underscores that it is in the best interest of all parties to explore new routes that safeguard the environment and protect tribal sovereignty.
“As the review takes place, I urge the United States Department of Justice to continue to work with the Army Corps of Engineers and the State of North Dakota to ensure that well-being, safety, and constitutional rights of protesters at Standing Rock are protected.
“President Obama’s respect for the sovereignty and traditions of the Standing Rock Sioux and all tribal nations has been a hallmark of his administration. I applaud the ongoing efforts of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice to fully consult with tribal leaders in North Dakota and across Indian Country.”