U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Close Dakota Pipeline Protesters’ Camp

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been notified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it will close a Dakota Access Pipeline protesters’ camp by December 5. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a $3.7 billion project that would carry 470,000 barrels of oil a day from the oil fields of western North Dakota to Illinois, where it would be linked with other pipelines.

Dakota Access Pipeline

Not coincidentally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers action came quickly after November 15 related filings in a Washington, D.C. U.S. federal district court on behalf of Energy Transfer, which describes itself as one of the “largest and most diversified investment grade master limited partnerships in the United States.” According to a company press release, it has sought a judgment declaring that Dakota Access Pipeline has the legal right-of-way to build, complete, and operate the Dakota Access Pipeline without any further action from the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe says they were not consulted on the project and argue that the pipeline is a major environmental and cultural threat. The proposed pipeline route traverses ancestral lands and sacred burial grounds just one mile off the tribe’s reservation in North Dakota. They worry as well that catastrophic environmental damage could occur if the pipeline were to break near where it crosses under the Missouri River, the only source of drinking water for some 10 million area people.

John W. Henderson, a district commander with the Corps, said anyone found to be on “Corps-managed land” north of the Cannonball River after the designated date will be considered trespassing and subject to prosecution. He acknowledged that violent confrontations between protestors and law enforcement officials have occurred in this area.

In response, tribal leader Dave Archambault and other protest organizers made it clear that they plan to stay in the Oceti Sakowin camp — one of three camps near the construction site — which would have been shut down. Their pleas come as passions across social media have drawn thousands of protesters to camp out in rural North Dakota in support of the tribe. 

We ask that all everyone who can appeal to President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the future of our people and rescind all permits and deny the easement to cross the Missouri River just north of our Reservation and straight through our treaty lands. When Dakota Access Pipeline chose this route, they did not consider our strong opposition.”

Ironically, the letter to Archambault arrived one day after the U.S. national holiday of Thanksgiving, which commemorates gestures of goodwill extended by native Americans to the first European immigrants. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is one of 562 federally-recognized native American Nations. Their population is around 15,000 people, living mainly on a reservation about half the size of Wales.

Photo Credit: We are Water, Camp of the Sacred Stones

 









About the Author

Carolyn writes from her home in Chepachet, RI, where she advocates with her lake association for chemical-free solutions to eradicate invasive species. She’s an organic gardener, nature lover, and vegetarian (no red meat since 1980) who draws upon digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+
  • Brian

    The democrats including Obama, Hillary, Elizabeth Warren, and Trump have been silent about closing the pipeline because they are dirty crooks who are in the pockets of our dirty fossil fuel industry. It’s a shame that someone honest like Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders could not have been our president.

    • Carolyn Fortuna

      Brian, I agree that the Dems have a chance to make a difference with clean energy. I don’t know if we want to ascribe character traits to them like “crooks,” though, do we? Let’s push for positive change with positive language and be role models for the incoming Trump Administration, shall we?

      • Brian

        Yes, your right. Let’s praise Hillary, Obama, and Trump for profiting off the horrible Dakota Access Pipeline, and for doing absolutely nothing, as a 21 year old women had her arm blown off, by a concussion grenade, and Native Americans and environmentalist are being shot with rubber bullets by a heavily armed over militarized oil company police force. Let’s use positive language, and push for positive change, even though we know that Trump, like Hillary and Obama, will do absolutely nothing to stop the nefarious Dakota Access pipeline, that will poison the water of Native Americans, and run over ancient Indian burial grounds, because he profits directly off the building of the nefarious pipeline. Excellent post, Carolyn. Let’s all push for positive change, and be role models for the incoming Trump administration, as Native Americans and environmentalist are being being brutalized by a heavily armed over militarized oil company police force. Only a Trump supporter like you, could be so intelligent.

        • Carolyn Fortuna

          That’s a low blow, calling me a Trump supporter! Please do close readings of my other articles; I and others around me need to be able to — must be able to— push for social justice and peaceful action without being cast as white supremacists. I do not and will never support a Trump presidency! I recommend reading Black Elk Speaks as guidance in these dark times.