Feds Deny Dakota Pipeline Permit; Propose New Route

Just hours before the Monday morning deadline to end the Standing Rock protests, the Army Corps of Engineers said Sunday that the federal government would not approve permits for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a dammed section of the Missouri River.


Standing Rock tribal chairman Dave Archambault II on NBC News.

Through the weekend, thousands of American military veterans arrived at the Sacred Stone camp in Cannon Ball, ND, where water protectors have been focusing national attention by blocking progress on the pipeline.

That seemed to be leading to a showdown, as North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple set a deadline of Monday, Dec. 5 for the camp to be vacated.

During the past four months, the camp has become a functioning city. Veterans of U.S. wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan have been traveling to the site to serve as human shields, located between local law enforcement and indigenous activists. Presumably the paramilitary police and National Guardsmen, who have been using vicious tactics on the water protectors, would be reluctant to open fire on others who have served in uniform.

The result of the Standing Rock protest demonstrates what happens when there are real protests and public awareness is focused on an issue.

The New York Times reported that on Sunday, the Army’s assistant secretary for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, said that the decision was based on a need to consider different paths for the pipeline. [See map of the project here.]

“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,” Darcy said in a statement.


Photo of the Oceti Sakowin camp, a central base of the Standing Rock water protectors’ action, by Stephanie Keith.

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

While President-elect Donald Trump has said he supports the pipeline and would allow it to go through, Dave Archambault II, the Standing Rock Sioux chairman, claimed victory. “It’s over,” he said.

“I know there will be questions about the next administration, but I think it’s our opportunity to educate and help” the new administration on understanding the issues. “I’m thankful that there were some leaders in the federal government who realized that something is not right even though it’s legal, and heard for the first time in history American Indian issues, heard our voices, and had the courage to take the initiative and make the right decision,” Archambault said in an interview with Tammy Leitner broadcast tonight by NBC News.

The Army Corps of Engineers, a lead agency for the private project, said it would study alternative routes that go around water supplies and that do not disrupt native burial grounds. Additionally, they called for a full environmental impact study, which has never been done.

More details on Tuesday’s Planet Waves FM.

5 thoughts on “Feds Deny Dakota Pipeline Permit; Propose New Route

  1. Eric Francis Post author

    Posted to FB

    For those saying that Obama has tricked the water protectors by denying the river crossing permit, you may think you’re being realistic, though I think that’s cynical. Obviously these banks and petrol companies have a lot of power, but they also have a lot of problems.

    One is keeping together such a huge “coalition” of financiers, and willing parties on both ends of the supply line. Another is economics: fracking and related activities have driven DOWN the price of fuel based on the oldest economic law here is, supply and demand.

    Then there’s that other law — time = money. Delays are costly. Costly delays first drive down profitability, then derail projects.

    With projects this vast, there are deadlines and there are reasons for them. One delay leads to another. On a good day things go wrong; on a bad day everything goes wrong, and that day is today.

    There is no final victory in these kinds of issues. There is merely a step by step process that has advances and setbacks. Eventually even modest advances can add up to change. We had better get used to this under the Trump administration, as there will be many issues that need our attention, and a president with a skin so thin he cannot stand Saturday Night Live.

    That in the end may work out for us just fine.

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