Dakota Access Pipeline(DAPL) Forced To Change Route After Obama Admin/Army Corps Rejects Permit

Native American and visiting "water protectors" celebrate that the Army Corps of Engineers has denied an easement for the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline inside of the Oceti Sakowin camp, North Dakota, U.S., December 4, 2016. © Lucas Jackson

The US Army Corps of Engineers will not grant permission for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross Lake Oahe, the hotspot of massive protests of water protectors, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said in a statement, adding that alternative routes are now being studied.

According to Darcy, it was “clear” they needed to address concerns of tribal leaders who expressed concerns over the potential environmental impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and “the best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

“The consideration of alternative routes would be best accomplished through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis,” the Army statement said.

Standing Rock Sioux chairman Dave Archambault II has issued a statement expressing his gratitude to the Obama administration for enabling the “historic decision” to re-reroute the pipeline.

“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,” he wrote.

The news is a massive win for the Sioux tribe that established the protest camp at the site in April and has gained huge support in recent weeks.

The pipeline was intended to pass through North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, which is a burial site sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux. The tribe voiced concerns the pipeline would threaten the community’s drinking water and would also damage sites of sacred significance.

Military veterans joined activists, who call themselves water protectors, at Standing Rock this week, with more than 3,500 pledging to join the demonstration.

READ MORE: ‘Wanna burn the US constitution? Shoot at us first’: Veterans prepare to aid DAPL protesters

The tribe’s chairman paid thanks to its “millions of supporters around the globe” and said they looked forward to celebrating their victory at home with their families in the coming days.

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple reacted to the news of the changed route in a statement, calling the decision ‘‘a serious mistake’’ that “prolongs the serious problems” that law enforcement faces, as well as what he described as the dangerous situation experienced by those camping in cold winter conditions.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that the Department of Justice will continue to monitor the protest in North Dakota in the coming days, and is ready to ‘‘provide resources’’ for those who ‘‘can play a constructive role in easing tensions.’’

Standing Rock Sioux tribe also expressed its wish to heal the relationship with police following tensions and clashes during the standoff. While protests have been largely peaceful, confrontations with police have led to violent clashes in recent weeks.

The chairman emphasized the importance of working together and considering native tribes when making huge impacting decisions.

“We are not opposed to energy independence, economic development, or national security concerns but we must ensure that these decisions are made with the considerations of our Indigenous peoples.”

Some 26 activists were injured in a November 20 confrontation when police fired water cannon in below-freezing temperatures. Rubber bullets and tear gas were also reportedly used against the water protectors on site.

Around 564 people were arrested during the protests, according to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.

The Army Corps of Engineers previously threatened that the camp would be closed on December 5, ostensibly to protect the public amid violent confrontations between protesters and law enforcement agencies.
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