The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe today in a long-awaited decision, but in a “stunning move,” three federal agencies have blocked the pipeline at Lake Oahe “pending a thorough review and reconsideration of the process,” the Tribe announced Friday afternoon.
In a joint press release, the Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior said that they will not allow the pipeline to be built on U.S. Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe.
Thousands of people from more than 200 Native Tribes have joined the Standing Rock Sioux’s efforts to protect their lands, waters and sacred sites from harm during construction of the 1,200-mile pipeline. The Yurok, Hoopa Valley, Karuk, Winnemem Wintu and other Tribes from California and the Klamath Tribes of Oregon have passed resolutions in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux while tribal members have traveled to the camp to join the defenders. Throughout cities and reservations across the country, many thousands of people have rallied against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline over the past several weeks.
“The agencies requested that Dakota Access voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of the lake,” according to a statement from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “They also set the stage for a nationwide reform, establishing consultation with tribes regarding the need for meaningful tribal input for all pipeline projects in the future.”
“This federal statement is a game changer for the Tribe and we are acting immediately on our legal options, including filing an appeal and a temporary injunction to force DAPL to stop construction,” the Tribe stated.
“Our hearts are full, on this historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and for tribes across the nation," said David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “Native peoples have suffered generations of broken promises and today the federal government said that national reform is needed to better ensure that tribes have a voice on infrastructure projects like this pipeline.”
Before the court decision and federal agency announcement were issued, Chairman Archambault II said, “Regardless of the court's decision today, we are winning the spiritual battle. We must continue to have faith and believe in the strength of our prayers and not do anything in violence. We must believe in the creator and good things will come. We will continue to stand united and peaceful in our opposition to the pipeline."
The Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior issued the following statement regarding Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
“We appreciate the District Court’s opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain. Therefore, the Department of the Army, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior will take the following steps.
The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws. Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time. The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as 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.
“Furthermore, this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects. Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations on two questions: (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals.
“Finally, we fully support the rights of all Americans to assemble and speak freely. We urge everyone involved in protest or pipeline activities to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. Of course, anyone who commits violent or destructive acts may face criminal sanctions from federal, tribal, state, or local authorities. The Departments of Justice and the Interior will continue to deploy resources to North Dakota to help state, local, and tribal authorities, and the communities they serve, better communicate, defuse tensions, support peaceful protest, and maintain public safety.
“In recent days, we have seen thousands of demonstrators come together peacefully, with support from scores of sovereign tribal governments, to exercise their First Amendment rights and to voice heartfelt concerns about the environment and historic, sacred sites. It is now incumbent on all of us to develop a path forward that serves the broadest public interest.”
For details on the Standing Rock litigation, go to the Earthjustice facebook page: earthjustice.org/…
Vien Truong, Director of Green For All, issued a statement in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Friday. Green For All “works to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty, and to make sure people of color have a place and a voice in the climate movement.”
"We applaud the Obama Administration for taking a stand and halting construction on the pipeline and promising to change the way Tribes will be affected during future projects. This is a big step forward to stop the ongoing cycle of ignoring the human rights and value of Native Americans.”
“However, President Obama needs to prove his commitment to Native American rights and fighting climate change by rejecting the pipeline completely, like he did with Keystone XL.”
"We continue to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Fossil fuels belong in the ground, and we cannot afford to ignore the realities of climate change any longer. No one should face violence from attack dogs and the National Guard for simply standing up for their right to water. Water is life.”
Around 100 people Friday demonstrated in front of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Sacramento in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe after the group marched over from an earlier protest at the U.S. Courthouse.
The organizers for both protests, Kelly Nixon (Courthouse action) and Caressa Nguyen (US Army Corps of Engineers action), said, "This is a gathering for ALL peoples who want to peacefully stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline ... and also send all the water and land protectors at Standing Rock a message of unified strength.”
Also on Friday, around 150 people rallied in Klamath along Highway 101 on Friday afternoon in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s peaceful resistance to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“Citizens from throughout the region, Yurok Tribe and Bear River Band leaders, True North Organizing Network leaders, and other allies gathered near the Klamath River with signs, speeches, chants, songs, and prayers,” according to the Eureka Times-Standard.
On Wednesday, two dozen people showed their solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s struggle against the DAPL by holding a demonstration outside of Citibank on Alhambra Boulevard in Sacramento from noon to 1 pm. The protesters targeted Citibank because it is one of the financial institutions whose loans have funded the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (www.dailykos.com/...)