UNITED STATES―The months of protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline came to a halt on Sunday, December 4, when the Army Corps of Engineers denied the easement to proceed building the 1,172 mile pipeline just outside the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Thousands of protesters gathered to stand against the pipeline, which some have argued is hazardous to run so close to the reservation’s water supply along with the surrounding sacred Native American area.
The easement is required for the $3.8 billion pipeline which would carry Brakken oil through North Dakota to an already existing Illinois oil terminal. The oil carrying pipeline would have crossed under Lake Oahe, 20 miles outside the reservation.
Since the Arm Corps of Engineers has denied Dakota Access’s last requirement, an Environmental Impact Statement will be conducted to further examine alternate routes.
“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” said Jo-Ellen Dary, the Army’s Assistant for Civil Works, in a statement. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternative routes for the pipeline crossing.”
After the easement denial announcement, pipeline project developers Energy Transfer Partners LP and Sunoco Logistics Partners LP stated the project has “done nothing but play by the rules.” The partners also stressed their commitment to finish the pipeline, with no plans to re-route around Lake Oahe.
Philip George from the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve in Ontario, Canada, refers to the pipeline halt as “bittersweet” seeing that the decision will go back under evaluation once President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January. Other factions such as the Greenpeace Party, conservation groups, and the Sierra Club rejoiced with the Sioux and fellow Dakota Access Pipeline protesters and demonstrators.