The secretary of the Army Corps of Engineers announced on Sunday, December 4, that it will deny the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline’s planned route through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
“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,” Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, said in a statement. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
The news marks a win for Native Americans and the countless protestors who had strongly opposed the construction of the proposed 1,172-mile long pipeline, which demonstrators argued would desecrate the sacred tribal land and damage water supplies in the area.
“Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribal chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement to BuzzFeed News on Sunday. “Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes.”
Archambault also expressed his “utmost gratitude” to President Barack Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of Interior for taking action “to correct the course of history and do the right thing.”
The Obama administration repeatedly asked that the Energy Transfer Partners stop its construction of the pipeline, but the Dallas-based company seemingly ignored the request and continued installing hyper-beam lights in November.
Many celebrities also spoke out against the Dakota Access Pipeline, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Shailene Woodley, the latter of whom was arrested for criminal trespassing in October while protesting.
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