Today we celebrate an important victory for the ancestral lands and water rights of the Standing Rock Sioux. By refusing to grant an easement that would have allowed Energy Transfer Partners to run the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River just upstream of the tribe’s water supply, the Army Corps of Engineers has blocked pipeline construction at this sensitive site. The Army Corps has also announced that it will conduct a more thorough environmental review that considers alternative pipeline routes.
The Dakota Access Pipeline, as planned, runs 1168 miles from North Dakota to its terminus in Illinois. From Illinois, another pipeline will carry crude oil to the Gulf of Mexico. Although yesterday’s decision does nothing to address the many remaining threats to water, wildlife, and climate (See pipeline threats to water in Illinois), the decision is nevertheless one to celebrate. Through the power of public protest and solidarity the Sioux people and their supporters have garnered national attention and forced the Obama Administration to take heed of their voices and of the environmental laws that are supposed to protect us.
We honor the Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters for their tenacity and bravery.