NORTH DAKOTA — The Department of the Army will not approve an easement allowing the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross underneath Lake Oahe in North Dakota, officials announced Sunday.
According to a press release on the official Army website, Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Works, based her decision “on the need to explore alternate routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing.”
Earth Justice, a group representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in a lawsuit over the pipeline, called the announcement a major victory.
“We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing,” stated Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman, in the press release from Earth Justice.
The easement was delayed on November 14 to allow for more discussion with members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation is less than 1 mile from the proposed site of the crossing. The tribe has been a driving force in ongoing protests in the area.
“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 stated. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
Darcy further stated the consideration of alternate routes will be “best accomplished through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis.”
The proposed 1,172 mile pipeline would connect the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to an existing crude oil terminal in Illinois.
Fox 13 News will have more on this story as it develops.