North Dakota’s Lake Oahe has been ground zero for the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and those who have stood against the oil delivery system’s construction are now rejoicing. According to various reports, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has denied permits that would have allowed for the crews to break ground on the controversial product.
This does not mean that the Standing Rock Sioux, the Native Americans who maintain a reservation near the lake, are clear of concerns. In essence, a portion of the pipeline that was slated to pass underneath Lake Oahe, which is a dammed section of the Missouri River.
The Standing Rock Sioux contended that the pipeline posed an environmental risk and would also disrupt sacred ground. The Corps’ announcement to investigate other pipeline routes and offer an environmental impact statement have been seen as victories by the opponents of the project.
From NBC News:
Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II told NBC News that he was “thankful that there were some leaders in the federal government that realized that something is not right even though it’s legal.”
“This is something that will go down in history, and I know that it’s a blessing for all indigenous peoples,” he said.
The Army Corps assistant secretary for civil works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, said in the statement Sunday: “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.
“The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
President Barack Obama’s administration has twice delayed decisions on clearing the permit in order to allow the tribe space to make their case and come up with alternative routes. There is no timetable for the Corps’ research and assessment.