Five Reasons Why the North Dakota Pipeline Fight Will Continue in 2017
In December 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) denied an easement that would have permitted the company Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) to complete one of the final segments of the 1,100-mile Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which seeks to connect the oil fields of North Dakota with terminals and refineries in Illinois.
The denial of ACE’s easement is undoubtedly a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux. The tribe and its allies in the #NoDAPL movement opposed the pipeline over risks to water quality, the destruction of cultural heritage and the injustice of, once again, having to make sacrifices for the economic gains of others. David Archambault II, chair of the tribe, thanked those who had been gathering for months at the construction site, saying their “purpose had been served,” and that they may leave now.
But as we start a new year, many people are convinced that the need for resistance has not ended even after the tribe’s monumental victory. The Sacred Stone camp, a Spirit Camp dedicated to stopping the pipeline, published the headline “DAPL Easement Suspended, but the Fight’s not Over.”
As an indigenous scholar and activist, I agree that the water protectors’ underlying causes in this high-profile resistance have not been addressed – even if ETP truly halts all construction. Here are five developments people should consider as the incoming Trump administration takes power.
1. Tribal consultation requirements need to be reformed.
In its December memo, the ACE said it did not violate its duty to consult tribes in advance. Moreover, in ruling against the tribe, which had sought an injunction to halt construction, district judge James Boasberg documented the many efforts ACE made to reach out to the tribe as well as efforts of the pipeline builders to avoid damaging places of cultural and historical significance.
Yet nonetheless, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s territory was targeted for the pipeline instead of an area closer to Bismarck, North Dakota, which speaks to the need for reform of tribal consultation policies. Continue Reading Next Page