An estimated 8,000 people from 150 different Native American tribes in the U.S. and Canada have come together to stop the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline. They have been joined by many more people concerned by the environmental threat and the abuse of eminent domain.
The 1,172 mile long pipeline has an estimated cost of $3.7 billion and will pump nearly a half a million gallons of light crude from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to its terminus in Pakota, Illinois.
The Standing Rock Sioux, a tribe living close to the proposed pipeline, and environmentalists have argued that the project could pose a threat to the local water supply. The pipeline fight has united seven Sioux nations. The last time these nations stood as one was in 1876 at the Battle of Little Big Horn where Custer and his troops were annihilated.
The Standing Rock Sioux argued in the lawsuit they commenced in that the pipeline crosses under a section of the Missouri River which is a source of water for the tribe. The tribe also alleges that the pipeline poses a threat to sacred lands.
It is to be remembered that the Keystone XL Pipeline was rejected by President Obama after more than six years of review, stating, “the Keystone XL Pipeline does not serve the national interests of the United States.”
The lawsuit sought a temporary restraining order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The request was denied, but a surprise announcement from the U.S. government revealed an override of the Court’s decision. A joint statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers read, “Construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time.” The environmental and cultural concerns raised by the Standing Rock Sioux will be more thoroughly addressed.
Other related lawsuits challenging the project are pending. Stay tuned as this matter is not likely to be resolved quickly.