The Army Corps of Engineers announced yesterday it is effectively blocking construction of the final span of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was set to be built beneath the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
The question now, as with every other issue, is what happens on Jan. 20. President-elect Donald Trump supports the Dakota Access project and could reverse the Army Corps’ decision.
For now, though, the Corps said it will search for an alternative route for the project. Protests over the pipeline — led by the Standing Rock Sioux but joined by thousands of others from around the nation — have drawn more and more attention these past months and led to clashes with law enforcement. Harsh winter conditions have added increased urgency to the cause in recent weeks.
Matthew Henrikson, a Fayetteville resident who traveled to North Dakota to join the protests, wrote about the experience for last week’s Arkansas Times. Also recommended: the Washington Post’s “Voices from Standing Rock,” which includes perspectives from both sides of the barricades.
The New York Times reports:
Representative Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota and a Trump supporter, called Sunday’s decision a “chilling signal to others who want to build infrastructure in this country.”
“I can’t wait for the adults to be in charge on Jan. 20,” Mr. Cramer said, referring to Mr. Trump’s inauguration.
Still, the announcement set off whoops of joy inside the Oceti Sakowin camp. Tribal members paraded through the camp on horseback, jubilantly beating drums and gathering around a fire at the center of the camp. Tribal elders celebrated what they said was the validation of months of prayer and protest.
“It’s wonderful,” Dave Archambault II, the Standing Rock tribal chairman, told cheering supporters who stood in the melting snow on a mild North Dakota afternoon. “You all did that. Your presence has brought the attention of the world.”