The much protested Dakota Access Pipeline was approved, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2017, by the U.S. Army. The acting secretary of the Army, Robert Speer, made the announcement to Congress.
The decision by the Army could allow the multi-billion dollar project in Dakota, to begin operations as early as June. The Army agreed to permit the final section of the pipeline to go beneath Lake Oahe, located in North Dakota. Lake Oahe is part of the Missouri River which provides drinking water for millions of people. The longest river in the country is a much-needed habitat for many different species of fish and wildlife.
The approval of the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline is the last barrier to the completion of the project. The project has been delayed due to significant protests from environmentalists and Native American tribes. In December of 2016, former President Obama, ordered an environmental study, after delaying the project to review concerns of tribal members. President Trump, though, issued an order on Jan. 24, 2017, to accelerate the Dakota Access Pipeline and to review the Keystone Pipeline.
Within two weeks of Trump’s order, according to a filing in District Court in Washington, D.C., the Army said it would be canceling the study requested by the Obama administration. Speer said in a statement that an environmental study was not needed because enough information had already been provided on the impact to the environment for the permit to be granted.
The decision was applauded by supporters of the Dakota Access Pipeline, who see the project as a benefit to workers and consumers in the country. Supporters see the decision as an example of a more hopeful future under a President Trump’s administration.
The Standing Rock Sioux, as expected, are not at all happy with the decision. They plan to continue fighting to protect their water source and to protect what they claim are sacred lands. The tribe has vowed to shut down operations of the Dakota Access Pipeline if construction is completed. They did not give details on how they would accomplish a shutdown. The tribe asked their supporters to join them at a protest in Washington D.C. on March 10, instead of joining them in Dakota.
The Indigenous Environmental Network, a group who has been on the front lines of the fight against the pipeline in Dakota, made it clear the fight is far from over. Executive director, Tom Goldtooth said:
The granting of an easement, without any environmental review or tribal consultation, is not the end of this fight. It is the new beginning. Expect mass resistance far beyond what Trump has seen so far.
Written by Jessica Hamel
Edited by Cathy Milne
Reuters: Controversial Dakota pipeline to go ahead after Army approval
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