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Protesters win fight to stop Dakota access pipeline

Construction of the pipeline will be rerouted, marking a huge win for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe

The US Army Corps of Engineers made the announcement on Sunday (December 4) that a permit will no longer be granted for the Dakota access pipeline running near the Standing Rock reservation. It’s a huge win for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the thousands of protesters who stood against the major threat to water access, the local environment and the land’s sacred status for Native Americans.

Assistant Army Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said in a statement that alternative routes for the 1,172-mile-long pipeline would be looked into.

“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 said. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

Members of the tribe and thousands of supporters had gathered at the North Dakota site to challenge the pipeline, which would have carried 20 million gallons of oil across the midwest every day, according to Buzzfeed. Those against its construction also cited the area’s cultural significance for the tribe, as well as the damage that could have been done to water supplies and the surrounding ecosystems.

“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama administration for this historic decision,” tribal chairman Dave Archambault said in a statement.

The decision comes just a day before the corps’ deadline for activists to leave the site. Energy Transfer Partners, who applied for the permit, may be able to appeal the decision, but the challengers claim they will continue their fight.

Local authorities have said that the police and activists on site will continue to be monitored, following the use of tear gas and rubber bullets at Standing Rock, according to The Guardian.

Some local lawmakers have criticised the judgment, such as the state’s governor, Jack Dalrymple.

“It does nothing to resolve the issue, and worst of all it prolongs the serious problems faced by North Dakota law enforcement as they try to maintain public safety,” said Dalrymple in a statement. “The administration’s lack of action also prolongs the dangerous situation of having protesters camping during the winter on US Army Corps of Engineers’ property.”

Others took to social media to praise the decision, such as Bernie Sanders. On site, tribe members and protesters celebrated the win.