by JESSICA YU
On Sunday, December 4th, 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers halted the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. After talking with tribe officials and hearing concerns that the 1,172-mile oil pipeline could contaminate their water supply, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, issued a statement claiming, “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
The federal government’s decision to halt the construction of the pipeline is a major victory for the thousands of protesters, better known as “water protectors,” who have been demonstrating in North Dakota since the pipeline’s construction began.
After hearing the decision, Standing Rock Sioux Chairman, Dave Archambault II, issued a statement of his own, “When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes. Treaties are paramount law and must be respected, and we welcome dialogue on how to continue to honor that moving forward. 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.”
The fight is nowhere near over, however. The construction of the pipeline could very well be continued by the incoming Donald Trump administration. Dave Archambault II hopes that they “respect this decision and understand the complex process that led [them] to this point.”