Obama Administration Orders North Dakota Pipeline Construction To Stop
The announcement comes on the same day the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe lost a major court battle.
On Friday, the Obama administration ordered contractors to halt construction on a significant portion of the Dakota Access pipeline. The announcement came just hours after the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who have protested the pipeline’s construction, lost a major court battle.
In a joint statement, the Army, Department of Justice, and Interior Department said construction near Lake Oahe will halt until thorough environmental assessments are conducted. They will reassess permitting decisions for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act.
“The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination,” part of the statement reads.
“Everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.”
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe praised the decision. David Archambault II, the tribe’s chairman, called it a “historic moment”, but also stressed that there is more work to be done:
“I want to take a moment and reflect on this historic moment in Indian Country. But I know that our work is not done. We need to to permanently protect our sacred sites and our water. There are areas on the construction route that do not fall within federal jurisdiction, so we will continue to fight.”
Michael Brune, executive director for the environmental organization Sierra Club, said the decision was “reflective of the brave and principled stand by the Standing Rock Sioux”.
“This is a historic, unprecedented, and overdue move by the Administration that is reflective of the brave and principled stand by the Standing Rock Sioux. The Tribe has stood up to combat the oppression and injustice they and Native Americans throughout our country have faced for generations, and the administration was right to recognize it.”