Obama Comes Up Big For Protesters As Army Won’t Grant Easement For Dakota Pipeline

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President Obama delivered a win for protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline as the Army has announced that they will not be granting the easement that would allow the pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

The Army announced their decision via a statement:

The Department of the Army will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Works announced today.

Jo-Ellen Darcy said she based her decision on a need to explore alternate routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing. Her office had announced on November 14, 2016 that it was delaying the decision on the easement to allow for discussions with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies 0.5 miles south of the proposed crossing. Tribal officials have expressed repeated concerns over the risk that a pipeline rupture or spill could pose to its water supply and treaty rights.

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Darcy added, “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.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) praised President Obama for listening to the Native American people, and the protesters, “I appreciate very much President Obama listening to the Native American people and millions of others who believe this pipeline should not be built. In the year 2016, we should not continue to trample on Native American sovereignty. We should not endanger the water supply of millions of people. We should not become more dependent on fossil fuel and accelerate the planetary crisis of climate change. Our job now is to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, not to produce more greenhouse gas emissions.”

President Obama and his administration listened to the Native American people and millions of other concerned Americans who don’t want an environmentally risky pipeline running near the reservation.

However, the victory may be short-lived as President-elect Trump supports the construction of the pipeline and his administration is certain to try to ram through the project as soon as he takes office. The Dakota pipeline could be one of the immediate flashpoints of protest towards the next administration.

For today, the protesters and Native American people have won a hard-fought victory that they should enjoy, while they consider that there is still a long and difficult confrontation to come.