Standing Rock Sioux members and their supporters protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline just got a piece of good news. Yesterday the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a statement on the pipeline saying before they’re willing to grant an easement to Energy Transfer Partners, they want to hold more discussions with the tribe. They said that during these conversations, pipeline construction near Lake Oahe on Corps land will halt.
The Army said it has finished its review begun September 9, 2016, and has determined “additional discussion and analysis are warranted in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation’s dispossessions of lands” and because of how important Lake Oahe is to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The Army’s statement doesn’t completely stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Rather, the goal of the discussions they mention is to talk about easement conditions to lower the risk of ruptures or spills along the oil pipeline and expedite response to such disasters “or otherwise enhance the protection of Lake Oahe and the Tribe’s water supplies.”
In a statement in response to the Army letter, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair Dave Archambault II said, “We are encouraged and know that the peaceful prayer and demonstration at Standing Rock have powerfully brought to light the unjust narrative suffered by tribal nations and Native Americans across the country…Not all our prayers were answered, but this time, they were heard.”
The Army made it clear they have not yet decided whether or not they will grant Energy Transfer Partners an easement, which the company needs to construct the part of the pipeline that goes underneath the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. While discussions are held, “construction on or under Corps land bordering Lake Oahe cannot occur.”
Via NBC News