Big News at Standing Rock

December 4th 2016

Willie Burnley Jr.

Construction of tbe Dakota Access Pipeline — which the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says would have threatened its water supply — will halt, according to MSNBC. The Hill is also reporting that the current pipeline route will be denied.

“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,” Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary for civil works, said in a statement. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

"The thoughtful approach established by the Army today ensures that there will be an in-depth evaluation of alternative routes for the pipeline and a closer look at potential impacts, as envisioned by NEPA," Sally Jewell, the Interior Secretary, said in a statement.

The pipeline, which would have transported crude oil over a thousand miles across multiple states, garnered mass protests led by hundreds of indigenous tribes. The move comes a day before those protesting the pipeline were originally ordered to leave the vicinity.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe released the following statement:

The Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the pipeline to drill under the Missouri River, a day before potentially thousands of protesters faced eviction from their campsite by the same agency. With the pipeline in limbo and the possibility that protesters and police may remain in confrontation, the Department of Justice will continue to monitor the situation, according to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

"We recognize the strong feelings that exist in connection with this issue, but it is imperative that all parties express their views peacefully and join us in support of a deliberate and reasonable process for de-escalation and healing," Lynch said.

It is possible that a new administration could reverse this progress and revamp the pipeline as-is. As Vox has reported, the only way that the Obama administration could ensure that no pipeline is built on the Sioux reservation is if the reservation were designated a national monument. President-elect Donald Trump has previously signaled his approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline (which he is financially invested in) with a communication briefing from his team, which ensured that Trump's support "has nothing to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans."

Update Sunday, December 4 at 4:30 p.m. PST: This story was updated to include new information about the halting of the current DAPL route.