Federal Government Halts Construction of Pipeline Project*
By Alexa Erickson
The federal government has now stepped into the ongoing fight regarding the Dakota Access oil pipeline. On Friday, they ordered work to be temporarily stopped on one segment of the project in North Dakota, asking the Texas-based company in charge of building it to “voluntarily pause” action due to an American Indian tribe urging that the area holds sacred artefacts.
The Standing Rock Sioux, whose reservation sits near the Dakota Access pipeline’s route, filed a lawsuit claiming the pipeline disturbed places of cultural importance and could even contaminate potable water from the Missouri River. They claimed that the permits granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in June violate “multiple federal statutes,” like the National Historic Preservation Act.
Here is a post from their Facebook Page:
“The federal court ruled against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe today but, in a stunning move, three federal agencies have blocked the pipeline at Lake Oahe pending a thorough review and reconsideration of the process. In a joint press release, the Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior said that they will not allow the pipeline to be built on U.S. Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe. The agencies requested that Dakota Access voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of the lake. They also set the stage for a nationwide reform, establishing consultation with tribes regarding the need for meaningful tribal input for all pipeline projects in the future. This federal statement is a game changer for the Tribe and we are acting immediately on our legal options, including filing an appeal and a temporary injunction to force DAPL to stop construction. (source)
The fight has drawn thousands of Native Americans and activists to protest the project, making for intense media coverage. The government’s pause is a means for acknowledging complaints from the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribal nations, who voiced their concerns that they had not been fully heard prior to federal overseers approving a pipeline that the tribe urged would harm their water supplies and ancestral cultural sites.
The fight sparked outrage from the Justice Department and other agencies, who called for
“serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”
The tribe referred to the federal order as “a game changer.”
The government’s announcement came mere minutes after a federal judge rejected efforts by the Standing Rock Sioux to halt construction on the North Dakota oil pipeline.
A joint statement from the Army and the Departments of Justice and the Interior, revealed that the pause would be applied to the pipeline’s path across a sliver of federal lands and under a dammed section of the Missouri River known as Lake Oahe. The lake is a water source for the Standing Rock Sioux.
“Our voices have been heard,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II.
“The Obama administration has asked tribes to the table to make sure that we have meaningful consultation on infrastructure projects. Native peoples have suffered generations of broken promises and today the federal government said that national reform is needed to better ensure that tribes have a voice on infrastructure projects like this pipeline.” The tribe revealed that they will still appeal the judge’s ruling.
We must stop the Dakota Access pipeline, once and for all.
There are ways you can take action, too. While many Americans are passively supporting the Standing Rock Sioux’s fight to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, there are many ways you can actively participate aside from posting on social media. Here are just a few:
- Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-2200, and leave a message stating your thoughts.
- Sign the petition to the White House to Stop DAPL via this link: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/…/stop-construction…
- Donate to support the Standing Rock Siouxvia this link: http://standingrock.org/…/standing-rock-sioux-tribe…/
- Donate items from the Sacred Stone Camp Supply List via this link: http://sacredstonecamp.org/supply-list/
- Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414 and tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund via this link: https://fundrazr.com/d19fAf
- Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp gofundme account via this link: https://www.gofundme.com/sacredstonecamp
- Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reverse the permit via this link: (202) 761-5903