For the past several months, news reports have been full of stories about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). All of us have seen the protestors gathering, the atrocities committed by the police, National Guard and a security firm on those same protestors, and even a few familiar faces among the protestors.
Despite a recent request by the Army Corps of Engineers for a stop on building the pipeline while they investigate claims on the environment, and in particular on Reservation land, this issues seems far from over. With this issue still making headlines, I felt like it was high time I went back and reviewed what has happened so far. Having the story condensed into a series of posts may spur on more people to keep up the fight for clean water, and open a few more eyes to what these protestors have endured already in a country we are constantly touting as “free” for all citizens.
In a time where the recent election of Trump has brought a lot of hidden racism and bigotry to the forefront, we need to support these Standing Rock Sioux more than ever. Our past is laden with atrocities toward people of any color (including, but by no means limited to, Native Americans). It’s time to put an end to that. Hopefully, Standing Rock will become a defining moment in our history, a point where we can look back and realize this was one of those moments where we as US citizens all stood together for something important. If enough of us join together for this cause, maybe our future can be something we can all look forward to, rather than just more of a past we are ashamed of.
The Army Halts Construction of the Pipeline
On December 4th, 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers denies a permit for the construction of a section of the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, it was clear there was “more work to do” after the Army heard from tribal officials about their concern the pipeline could affect drinking water. She went on to say they were looking into exploring alternate routes for the pipeline.
The water protestors, of course, were excited, thinking they had won the battle in a peaceful manner.
The Army issues a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement
On January 18th, 2017, the Army Corps of Engineers filed a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Statement on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Comments are stated as being accepted until February 20, 2017.
The summary of the document states “This notice advises the public that the Department of the Army (Army), as lead agency, is gathering information necessary to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) in connection with Dakota Access, LLC’s request to grant an easement to cross Lake Oahe, which is on the Missouri River and owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). This notice opens the public scoping phase and invites interested parties to identify potential issues, concerns, and reasonable alternatives that should be considered in an EIS.”
Meanwhile, construction stays halted at the pipeline.