"Expect Mass Resistence": The Dakota Pipeline Gets Ready for Completion
Months of demonstrations and protests haven't been enough to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project that will have serious impact on water pollution and crosses land considered "sacred" by Native-American tribes, according to environmentalists and human rights activists.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted an easement allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under the Missouri River north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, paving the way for construction of the final 1.5 miles of the more than 1,700-mile pipeline.
In doing so, the Army cut short its environmental impact assessment and the public comment period associated with it, reported the N.P.R.
Donald Trump, who has invested in the pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners and also received donations from its CEO, pledged during his campaign to revive the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, which the Obama administration had halted.
On Jan. 24, four days after his inauguration, Trump signed an executive memorandum encouraging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the review and approval process, and last week the Army said that it had been directed to expedite its review of the route. The decision outraged environmentalists and indigenous activists. Before Trump was sworn in, the US army corps of engineers was on track to conduct a full environmental impact study (EIS) of the project, which the tribe has long sought. That review would have assessed possible harms and alternative routes and could have taken years to complete, reported The Guardian.
The director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, which has helped organize demonstrations against the pipeline since last summer, released a statement promising to fight the Army's decision. "The granting of an easement, without any environmental review or tribal consultation, is not the end of this fight — it is the new beginning," he wrote.
"Expect mass resistance far beyond what Trump has seen so far. ... Our tribal nations and Indigenous grassroots peoples on the frontlines have had no input on this process."
More than 70 people were arrested last week near the pipeline's route, when the Morton County Sheriff's office moved people off what it said was privately owned land.