A long battle ahead

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters must prepare to face Trump administration, Congress

We were heartened to hear over the weekend that the Army Corps of Engineers would not approve an easement along the proposed route for the Dakota Access pipeline. The project, spearheaded by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, was designed to transport upward of 550,000 barrels of oil daily from North Dakota to Illinois.

The pipeline is controversial for myriad reasons, including the fact that it has dodged strenuous environmental review and has disrupted sacred Native American sites. However, the most distressing aspect is the danger it poses to the region’s water supply, the Missouri River, the sole supply for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, along with that of millions of other Americans.

Thousands of self-described water protectors have spent months camped out in Cannon Ball, N.D., near a critical junction for the project. They have clashed repeatedly with police and private security, who have responded to the peaceful activists with rubber bullets, attack dogs and water cannons in freezing temperatures.

The Army’s news on Sunday (Dec. 4) was a long-awaited victory for the protesters. However, this doesn’t spell an end to the project. With an incoming Trump administration and a Republican Congress, it’s only a matter of time before there’s either an attempt to continue the project as planned or reroute it elsewhere under the river.

Water protectors must regroup and prepare to dig in their heels. The public can help by donating to the protestors’ base camp, pulling their money from banks that have a stake in the project or, as thousands of veterans have done, join them on the front lines. It could be a long winter.