December 8, 2016
Dakota Access Pipeline Construction To Be Halted
The thousands of protestors gathered at Standing Rock recently gained cause to celebrate. After months of activism and peaceful protests, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will halt construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline.
At this point, construction of the four-state, 1,885 km pipeline is mostly complete. Engineers planned on building the remainder of the pipeline underneath Lake Oahe, which is a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
Over the past several months, the $3.8 billion pipeline’s construction attracted much controversy. Many travelled to Standing Rock to protest the pipeline’s construction, amidst media reports of increasing tensions between protestors and police.
Critics considered the construction of the pipeline to threaten drinking water and infringe on sacred Native lands. Located north of Cannonball River, Oceti Sakowin Camp represents the largest sacred site that protestors argued would be harmed by the pipeline.
The Assistant Secretary for Civil Works said that the need to “explore alternate routes” for the pipeline ultimately halted its construction. Many consider this a hugely optimistic sign that persistent peaceful protests can be effective. Moreover, critics of the pipeline applaud the decision for respecting Indigenous land.
But for many protestors, the fight remains ongoing. While this decision certainly marks a victory for protestors, the fate of the pipeline ultimately remains to be seen. Many protestors — who consider themselves to be water protectors — remain nervous about Trump’s plan when he takes office. During the presidential election campaign, President-Elect Donald Trump voiced his support for the pipeline. It remains unclear whether he can — or will — choose to resume construction during his presidency.
After the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer announced that the pipeline’s construction would be stopped, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe released a statement of their own, thanking protestors and applauding Obama’s administration. Of course, the decision to halt construction has not been met with universal acclaim. Unsurprisingly, Energy Transfer Partners — the company behind the construction of the pipeline — as well as North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer and Paul Ryan have all slammed the decision.