The Dakota Access Oil Company has been ordered to stop construction on a significant portion of the oil pipeline, in a breakthrough victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe who have been protesting the destruction of their waterway.
In a joint statement, the Army, Department of Justice, and Interior Department said construction near Lake Oahe will halt immediately while 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,” 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 the fight is not over yet:
“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”.
Recent footage has emerged showing corporate mercenaries, operating on behalf of Dakota Access Oil Company, using vicious attack dogs and pepper spray on thousands of peaceful indigenous protestors.
The violent attacks came one day after the Sioux Standing Rock tribe filed court papers identifying sacred sites and reiterating their claims the pipeline will pollute the Missori River and contaminate the water supply of thousands of people from their tribe.
“On Saturday, Dakota Access Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners brazenly used bulldozers to destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts,” said tribal chairman David Archambault II in a press statement.
It has also been revealed that over twenty major banks and financial institutions are banking on the pipeline going ahead. Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and other major financial institutions have extended a $3.75 billion credit line to Energy Transfer, the parent company of Dakota Access LLC.
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