The Army Corps of Engineers has denied approval for the current Dakota Access Pipeline route, ending a months-long standoff between law enforcement and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Under the current route, the pipeline would have cut through sacred land for the Standing Rock Sioux, who have rallied the green community and other allies to block its development. Hundreds of people have been arrested in anti-pipeline protests; countless others have been pepper sprayed, hit with water cannons in freezing temperatures, and shot with rubber bullets. A concussion grenade hurled by local police almost cost one protestor her arm.
On Sunday afternoon, the evening before law enforcement was planning to forcibly disperse the main protest camp, the Army Corps of Engineers said it would not approve the pipeline route that cuts through tribal sacred land.
“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” said Army Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy in a statement. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement that the tribe would be “forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision.”
“Throughout this effort I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner — and that is how we will respond to this decision,” said Archambault. “With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well.”
President Barack Obama hinted in early November that he opposed building the pipeline through tribal lands. Speaking to NowThis News, he said the Army Corps of Engineers was “examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline.”
One person who won’t be pleased with the news is President-elect Donald Trump, who said last week that he supports the pipeline.