Assistant secretary for civil works Jo-Ellen Darcy announced the decision on Sunday, with the Army Corps finally acknowledging “a need to explore alternate routes” for the pipeline.
“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 in a statement. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
Protesters have been camped out at the site in North Dakota for weeks to demonstrate against the $3.8 billion project, arguing it will destroy the environment and taint the drinking water used by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
On Saturday, protesters responded to the news that they were being ordered out by vowing to stay put, adding that the Corps’ order would only escalate tensions with militarized police.
More than 3,000 veterans from all branches of the United States military converged at the Standing Rock camp today to support the Sioux in their ongoing opposition to the construction of the pipeline that would cross through disputed land managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The liberation of Standing Rock – #liberationofstandingrock
The arrival of thousands of veterans appears to have been the straw that broke the Army Corps’ back, as the federal agency for waterway engineering announced they had “denied the easement needed to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline,” according Colonel Henderson, who first notified Veterans for Standing Rock co-organizer Michael A. Wood Jr.
“This is history,” a jubilant Wood said, upon learning that months of protests had paid off.
The 3,000-strong troop of veterans descended on the camp in buses, cars and planes to offer their support to the tribe in its months-long, heroic effort to protect its drinking water and sacred sites – and demand the federal government respect their treaty laws.
“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama administration for this historic decision,” tribal chairman Dave Archambault said in a statement.
While the news is a massive victory for the tribe, Jan Hasselman, an attorney, cautioned that the decision could still be appealed.
“They [Energy Transfer Partners] can sue, and Trump can try to overturn,” Hasselman said. “But overturning it would be subject to close scrutiny by a reviewing court, and we will be watching the new administration closely.”
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