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Cannon Ball, N.D. September 9, 2016 – The Department of Justice, the Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior today called for a stop to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline while also calling for national reform to “ensure meaningful tribal input” on infrastructure projects. Their announcement came via press release today in the wake of a decision by the U.S. District Court to deny the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for injunction to halt pipeline construction.
“Our hearts are full, this an historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and for tribes across the nation,” said Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “Today, three federal agencies announced the significant decision to respect tribal sovereignty and stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Army Corps land.”
In its release, the Department of Justice emphasized that “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.” As a result, the release says, the Army will not authorize construction of the 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.”
“Our voices have been heard,” said Archambault. “The Obama administration has asked tribes to the table to make sure that we have meaningful consultation on infrastructure projects. 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.” The Tribe notes, however, that the fight isn’t over to protect sacred sites and the water source for 17 million people who rely on the Missouri River.
“I want to take a moment and reflect on this historic moment in Indian Country,” said Archambault. “But I know that our work is not done. We need to to permanently protect our sacred sites and our water. There are areas on the construction route that do not fall within federal jurisdiction, so we will continue to fight.” Thousands of supporters and hundreds of tribes have joined the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“I walk through the camps and I am filled with gratitude for the love and care that thousands have shown in this fight,” said Archambault. “I want to share with supporters that we at Standing Rock are thankful. We are blessed by your continued support. Let us remain in peace and solidarity as we work to permanently protect our water.”