Delays in Dakota Pipeline Could Mean Trump—Who Stands to Gain Financially from Construction—Gets to Decide
The following is an excerpt from Henry Grabar | November 29, 2016 | Slate.com |
On Nov. 14, in response to months of protests, the U.S. Army announced it needed more time to assess the potential conditions of the easement that would allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross beneath the Missouri River in North Dakota, just north of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
For Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, the decision prolongs what is essentially a stop work order that the Obama administration issued in September. “The Army has determined that additional discussion and analysis are warranted in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation’s dispossessions of lands, the importance of Lake Oahe to the Tribe, our government-to-government relationship, and the statute governing easements through government property,” the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a November press release. The final piece of the otherwise nearly completed project, a tunnel beneath Lake Oahe, one of America’s largest reservoirs, can’t go forward without the Army’s approval.
It appeared to be a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux, who have been camped on federal land north of the reservation for months in protest of the construction. (Many Sioux dispute that the federal government actually owns the land, since it was assigned to the Sioux by an 1851 treaty that was later broken.) Protesters have been teargassed and fired on with rubber bullets and water cannons, prompting the Obama administration to ask ETP voluntarily halt construction pending de-escalation at Standing Rock; the company did not agree to that request. But the Army’s announcement to re-assess seemed promising news for the protesters.
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