by MARISSA AYALA
The United States Army has granted full legal rights, allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross underneath the Missouri River, north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. In allowing access the Army cut its environmental impact assessment short, and the public comment period associated with it. However, on Wednesday, January 18th, a notice from the Army states that they would continue to take public comments until February 20, 2017.
On January 24, 2017, President Trump signed a directive encouraging the Army to accelerate the decision and approve the process.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Paul Cramer, cited the memorandum signed by Trump in a letter explaining their decision of allowing access for the Dakota Access Pipeline. He wrote that the Army would grant the easement as early as Wednesday afternoon, at which the Energy Transfer Partners would be able to begin construction. The letter noted that the acts of the construction would not need a separate license to deed upon. This gives opposing groups of the pipeline very little time to seek legal action.
In a January statement, the tribe explained it would, “vigorously pursue legal action to ensure the environmental impact statement order issued late last year is followed so the pipeline process is legal, fair and accurate”. However, this request from the tribe to halt the project was not granted.
On Tuesday morning a post was made on Facebook to issue those who were supporters of the protesters to submit public comments to the Army’s environmental assessment page. After the announcement was made granting access, Sacred Stone Camp posted on Facebook, “PLEASE THIS IS OUR LAST STAND!!” More than 70 people were taken into custody due to protesting near the pipeline’s route, when the Morton County Sheriff’s office moved people off of what was said to be privately owned property.