APTN National News
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is temporarily putting the brakes on further development of the Dakota Access pipeline on land under its jurisdiction.
A statement from USACE late Monday said that it’s too soon to give a go ahead with construction of the pipeline that has seen hundreds of people arrested during daily protests.
“The Army has determined that additional discussion and analysis are warranted in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation’s dispossessions of lands, the importance of Lake Oahe to the Tribe, our government-to-government relationship, and the statute governing easements through government property,” said the release.
However, the release goes on to encourage the Standing Rock Sioux to find a compromise that will allow the DAPL to be completed.
“ The Army invites the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to engage in discussion regarding potential conditions on an easement for the pipeline crossing that would reduce the risk of a spill or rupture, hasten detection and response to any possible spill, or otherwise enhance the protection of Lake Oahe and the Tribe’s water supplies.”
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is in court suing the USACE for giving its approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline Limted (DAPL) project.
A press release from the Tribe followed shortly after stating that while the Army’s response falls short of what they had hoped for, it shows that the federal government 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,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman David Archambault II.
The almost 1800km DAPL is nearly complete. The final steps involve drilling under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe – which is land under the jurisdiction of the USACE, and less than a kilometre upstream from the Tribe’s reservation.
The Standing Rock Sioux say a pipeline leak into their water would be “culturally and economically catastrophic” for the Tribe.
Archambault credits the months of protests by water protectors from over 400 different Native American tribes and Canadian First Nations, as well as non-Indigenous allies, for buying the Sioux of Standing Rock more time.
“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 stand-off between water protectors, police, and workers on the pipeline has grown increasingly acrimonious. The battle over DAPL came to a head in late October when local and state police backed by the North Dakota National Guard used sound cannons, pepper spray and bean bag rounds to break up a barricade set up on Hwy 1806. Hundreds were arrested and one water protector was charged with attempted murder of a police officer.