corp of engineers
Protesters Leave Dakota Access Pipeline Area; Some Stay And Are Arrested

In an amicus brief filed in U.S. District Court earlier this month, the leadership of the 16 federally recognized Indian tribes located in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska — a group known as The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association — wrote in opposition to the pipeline.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, they argued, cannot be understood without considering the history of the federal government abusing tribal sovereignty:

“From this history, a pattern emerges wherein the United States consistently utilizes the legal narrative of the time to segregate, take from, and discriminate against Indian tribes. [The Dakota Access Pipeline] is simply the latest example of Native peoples of the Great Plains being subjected to varying legal standards and shifting political winds to justify the subordination of Indian treaty rights to non-Indian pecuniary interests.

”… In addition to the irreparable harm to the free exercise of Native religious beliefs … there is also irreparable harm in the form of historical trauma and psychological distress which stems from the consistent failure of the United States to live up to its obligations under its Treaties with Indian tribes generally, and under its Treaties with the Great Sioux Nation here specifically. Treaties matter.“
Dakota Access Pipeline Will Not Pass Through Standing Rock Reservation, Army Decides
The protesters win.
By David Mack

The US Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday announced they will no longer allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under a lake on the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, marking a huge win for Native Americans and protesters who had long opposed the construction.

“Today, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribal chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News. “Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes.

“We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.”

“It took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful,” he said.

No, the DAPL is not dead. No, we didn’t win. No, no, no. It’s a trick.

The Army Corps of Engineers has declined to grant the easement for Energy Transfer Partners’ drilling under Lake Oahe. This isn’t the same as denying it outright.

What it means is that they will do a limited Environmental Impact Study before allowing the drilling. The EIS could take months, by which time Trump will be president and they hope all the water protectors leave so they can finish the pipeline quietly with no media attention.

—  Rax Symelich

Standing Rock prepares for what could be its last stand against the Dakota Access pipeline

  • A confrontation is coming to Standing Rock.
  • After  Trump signed an executive order to restart construction for the Dakota Access pipeline project, both sides are settling in for what could be the final confrontation between law enforcement and the peaceful resistance at Standing Rock.
  • Leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies have received word that after Feb. 22, the evacuation deadline set forth by the Army Corps of Engineers, police will begin a forcible evacuation of the camp and its structures. According to Chase Ironeyes of the Lakota People’s Law Project, this could begin as soon as the day after the deadline.
  • As they hope for thousands of additional bodies to arrive in time for the showdown, hundreds remain at the Standing Rock camps intent on seeing the resistance through.
  • But their numbers are a far cry from the 8,000 to 10,000 who were present in early December when a tentative victory was declared. Read more (2/14/17 12:40 PM)

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US Army Corps ordered to allow the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline

  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been ordered to allow the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven told CNN.
  • In a statement Hoeven said that acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer had “directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with the easement needed to complete the Dakota Access pipeline,” and that Congressional notification was “imminent”.
  • The Standing Rock Sioux tribe said that as of Wednesday, Hoeven’s statement was premature. Read more

Army Corps instructs DAPL protesters to leave area by Dec. 5, but won’t forcibly remove them

  • On Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delivered a letter to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
  • Protesters will no longer be allowed in a portion of “Corps-managed federal property north of the Cannonball River” starting Dec. 5.
  • In an additional statement Sunday, the Army Corps said it has “no plans for forcible removal” and “is seeking a peaceful and orderly transition to a safer location.”
  • Following Friday’s announcement, though, tribe members have only doubled down on their commitment to protecting their land and water.
  • Leaders called on Obama and the government to halt the pipeline and move it outside the bounds of the tribe’s treaty lands. Read more

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Paul Ryan slams DAPL decision, signalling concerns for the future

  • Hours after the Army Corps of Engineers’ historic DAPL announcement, House Speaker Paul Ryan slammed the decision
  • He called it “big-government decision-making at its worst,” saying, “I look forward to putting this anti-energy presidency behind us.”
  • Ryan’s tweet frames the news not as a victory of a marginalized group over an environmental threat, but as evidence that “big government” was “anti-energy” in delaying the construction of the pipeline. 
  • His implication that these policies will soon be “behind us” is a worrisome indication that victories achieved this weekend could soon be undone by a Trump administration. Read more

Today, Trump signed an Executive Order allowing the construction of both Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s going to take a lot more than than that for him to overturn what we and the Army Corps of Engineers have done. But it’s a step in the wrong direction. Join Standing Rock in continuing to fight for a cleaner, safer, and renewable future:

What happens next at Standing Rock?

  • On Sunday, a historic victory was declared when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers declined the permit request for the Dakota Access pipeline.
  • Energy Transfer Partners, the oil company behind the pipeline deal, has been vocal in their public criticism of the Army Corps’ decision.
  • With a stroke of a pen, Trump could allow ETP to continue with their pipeline construction plans.
  • This is precisely why Standing Rock Tribe Chairman David Archambault II has taken the initiative to arrange a meeting with the president-elect
  • Now, the Army Corps of Engineers has to submit another assessment — called an Environmental Impact Statement — of the pipeline before any further action.
  • The statement is made up of three phases — scoping, draft and final — and is open to public input before the statement becomes finalized.
  • This process could take several months past Trump’s inauguration, according to Andy Pearson, an environmental activist. Read more

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A timeline of the major events at Standing Rock so far:

Dec. 22, 2014

Dakota Access LLC submitted an application to the North Dakota Public Service Commission to build a 358-mile pipeline originating in the Bakken and Three Forks oil formations.

Feb. 17, 2015

The United States Army Corps of Engineers, a government body in charge of U.S. waterways, sent a letter to the Tribal Historic Preservation Office to consult interested tribes on the pipeline’s impact, in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act. THPO requested a full archaeological investigation, Mother Jones reported. THPO sent follow-up letters in ensuing months, which allegedly went unreturned.

March 25, 2015

The Public Service Commission, or PSC, considered the application complete and scheduled three public hearings during May and June 2015, according to local NBC affiliate KFYR.

Sept. 15, 2015

Soon after a follow-up letter from the Army Corps of Engineers, or USACE, arrived, THPO expressed concerns about “significant and unevaluated properties” in the construction site. THPO concluded that USACE attempted to bypass the Section 106 process.

Jan. 20, 2016

The PSC unanimously approved the project. Commissioner Randy Christmann recused himself since a share of the pipeline was willed to his wife.

April 29, 2016

Col. John Henderson of the USACE held a public hearing in Mobridge, North Dakota, so that Native tribe members could voice their concerns. Everyone who spoke at the meeting rejected the project.

July 25, 2016

USACE issued a permit 12, which finally approved the construction of the pipeline across roughly 200 sites in four different states. The following day, the Sioux tribe filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the destruction of sacred sites.

July 27, 2016

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Washington, D.C., according to Earthjustice, a nonprofit law organization that represents the Standing Rock tribe. U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg handled the case.

Aug. 4, 2016

The tribe filed a preliminary injunction against USACE, because the pipeline was already under construction,

Aug. 10, 2016

First arrests of demonstrators in the vicinity of the construction were made.

Sept. 3, 2016

Democracy Now! camera crew filmed security guards working for DAPL attacking protesters. On Sept. 8, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman received a criminal complaint and warrant for her arrest after the State’s Attorney Ladd R. Erickson presented charges against Goodman for “criminal trespass.”

Sept. 9, 2016

The federal district court denied the Tribe’s motion for a preliminary injunction. However, the Departments of Justice, Army and Interior announced they would halt any future permitting and would reconsider its past permits for the project. Energy Transfer Partners, however, continued the pipeline construction.

Oct. 17, 2016

A North Dakota judge rejected charges against Amy Goodman for her reporting.

Nov. 15, 2016

Energy Transfer Partners filed a lawsuit against USACE, claiming that the Corps has no right to “delay easement to pipeline construction.”

Nov. 25, 2016

USACE threatened DAPL protesters with possible arrests if they don’t evacuate their camps by Dec. 5.

Nov. 28, 2016

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple issued an executive order for the expulsion of DAPL protesters “to safeguard against harsh winter conditions.”

Read more about the history of Standing Rock, the Trump connection and what’s next for the protesters

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Several thousand Native Americans and their supporters continued to camp out near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota on Thanksgiving Day. 

Citizens of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation set up the Sacred Stone Camp in April to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, which they say would threaten nearby burial sites and the Sioux water supply.

Thousands of people have passed through the camp and more have pledged support. Numbers swell in the camp on weekends; some estimate that the population has doubled with the holiday.

After a violent clash with police less than a week ago, in which dozens were injured, rumors of police raids traveled through the camp on Thursday, but none actually occurred.

Protesters Mark A Solemn Thanksgiving Day At Standing Rock

Photos: Cassi Alexandra for NPR

Editor’s note: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers notified the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Friday that the public will not be allowed in areas being used to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.


Standing Rock #NoDAPL protestors just won a major victory. But don’t stop being vigilant– there’s already evidence nothing is changing

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Sunday that it won’t grant an easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in southern North Dakota. But the pipeline is largely complete except for the now-blocked segment underneath Lake Oahe. And the company constructing the pipeline, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, had said it is unwilling to reroute the project.


Native tribe files legal challenge to Dakota Access Pipeline

  • In a last-ditch effort to block construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, one of the Native American tribes directly affected by construction filed a legal challenge in a federal court on Thursday morning, according to the Associated Press.
  • The legal action follows news that acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer ordered the United States Army Corps of Engineers to complete the $3.8 billion pipeline, despite mass protests from Native peoples whose land and water could be devastated by its construction. Read more

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Even though most of the protesters fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota have left, hundreds still remain here atop what is essentially a sheet of ice.

One group of campers say there’s a change taking hold at camp, which was once overrun by thousands who felt a sense of excitement about the gathering.

Byron Shorty, who lives on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, says now that the Army Corps of Engineers is temporarily halting pipeline construction, the protest camp is calm.

“I want to be here to reflect, and I want to be here to help clean up our abandoned campsites that I still see,” he says. “And we’re in the process of cleaning those up and repurposing the things that people left behind.”

Dakota Pipeline Protesters, Nearby Residents Brace For 2017

Photos: Amy Sisk/Inside Energy

It’s official ! There are actions happening in all 50 states tomorrow!

Because of the election outcome it is especially critical we show up in numbers and in unity to demand that President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers reject or require a full Environmental Impact Statement for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Check out to find an action near you! See you tomorrow on the streets!

The Standing Rock Sioux are protecting water they need to drink. When the Army Corps of Engineers stopped the DAPL project, the pipeline was moved onto Standing Rock land. Why would a pipeline too dangerous for Bismarck, now be acceptable at Standing Rock?


The US Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday announced they will no longer allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under a lake on the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, marking a huge win for Native Americans and protesters who had long opposed the construction.

“Today, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribal chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News. “Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes.


Winter has descended on North Dakota. A blizzard swept through the state earlier this week, shutting down nearly 300 miles of interstate highway there. And the weather doesn’t promise to relent in the coming months.

In the midst of it all, a large group of protesters remains at the temporary camps on the northern edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

The movement, which started in early 2016, had small roots but grew into the thousands, drawing support from Native Americans from across the country, as well as activists who joined in solidarity against the proposed route of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline just north of the reservation.

Last week those protests won a concession from the federal government: The Army Corps of Engineers announced it would deny the permit necessary to build the oil pipeline in that area. And now, with an eye toward the impending winter weather, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota is asking people camping near the route to go home.

Still, many “water protectors” have vowed to hold their ground.

Here are some of their own stories, their experiences at the camp and their reasons for joining the protest — in their own words.

In Their Own Words: The ‘Water Protectors’ Of Standing Rock

Photos: Cassi Alexandra for NPR