The US Army Corps of Engineers denied the Dakota Access pipeline company a permit to drill underneath the Missouri River on December 4 Democracy Now! reported. The decision officially halts construction of the US$3.8 billion oil pipeline that has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota and members of more than 200 indigenous nations from across the Americas, as well as their non-Native allies.
In response to the Army’s decision, Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II said, “We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.”
Archambault added, "We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need."
The decision is a big win, but does not end the issue, with the Army Corps pointing to the ongoing discussions over routes for the pipeline.
Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Works, said in a statement, "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. The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing."
Darcy also indicated the government will undertake a full Environmental Impact Statement in order to consider alternative routes.
The announcement comes as thousands of Native and non-Native military veterans gathered at Standing Rock, ready to form a "human shield" around the water protectors, who have faced an increasingly violent police crackdown against the resistance movement.