Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Stave Off Dakota Access Pipeline (For Now)

After law enforcement recently escalated violence against the protectors at the Standing Rock camp and ordered them to evacuate, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at last have a victory to celebrate. Yesterday, the Department of the Army (which manages the contested land) announced they would not be approving the Dakota Pipeline’s passage under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

“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, stated in the official announcement. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

The victory, however, is nonetheless a cautious one. On an environmental level, the pipeline still threatens ecosystems no matter where it is redirected. Moreover, the delay on the Dakota Access Pipeline comes on the heels of Justin Trudeau approving the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which many environmental activists believe poses an immense threat to ecology. Grand chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs told The Guardian, “This is not just an indigenous issue, it’s not a radical environmentalist issue. It’s an issue that is of enormous concern to all British Columbians from all walks of life.” One can only hope bigger victories are to be found in the future– in the U.S., in Canada, and abroad.

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