Today, U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg denied the preliminary injunction request by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to cease construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Soon after, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior issued a joint statement that halts construction at the contentious Missouri river crossing.
“The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws. Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time,” read the joint statement.
The release also requests that Dakota Access, LLC voluntarily cease all construction 20 miles east and west of Lake Oahe while the Army Corps completes its reevaluation. The agencies invited tribal governments to formally discuss whether a nationwide reform of the permitting process is needed to better address tribal concerns.
LaDonna Bravebull Allard, Sacred Stone Camp Director says, “We have a long history of working with Army Corps of Engineers, a long history of them not being truthful, and a long history of them destroying land. The Army Corps has never been truthful with the tribes, so we must always be cautious of whatever they say.”
“Today has been a roller coaster as events have unfolded in the judiciary and administration,” said Tara Houska, National Campaigns Director for Honor the Earth. “While it’s hugely encouraging to see the administration’s willingness to consider reevaluating an unjust process that does not respect the sacred places, natural resources, and treaty rights of tribal nations, Dakota Access is still free to construct right up to the river. Land and water protectors are watching to see if Dakota Access will voluntarily cease its path of destruction. This is not just a legal question, but one of morality - will we allow corporate interests to come before the people?”
“North Dakota’s Governor Dalrymple and President Obama could defuse and demilitarize this, while the peaceful gathering to protect the water continues. We ask for a moral high ground, by elected officials while we continue to support the Standing Rock tribe and Lakota people to seek justice. There should be no further destruction or construction,” Winona LaDuke Honor the Earth Executive Director states. “We are asking Enbridge and Energy Partners to stop construction and respect our people.”
“Today’s statement by the Obama administration demonstrates that non-violent direct action, mass mobilization, and people power work,” Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In the Ground Campaign Organizer for Indigenous Environmental Network states. “With this news, we celebrate, yet remain vigilant and prepared to continue to put our bodies on the line to stop the Dakota Access pipeline from desecrating the sacred.”
LaDonna Bravebull Allard, Sacred Stone Camp Director says, “We have a long history of working with Army Corps of Engineers, a long history of them not being truthful, and a long history of them destroying our land. The Army Corps has never been truthful with the tribes, so we must always be cautious of whatever they say.”