The federal government on Friday temporarily halted construction on the Dakota Access pipeline just minutes after a federal judge denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s efforts to stop the pipeline. The tribe is calling the federal government’s interference a “game changer.”
The government’s decision to block parts of the pipeline that lies on federal lands near Lake Oahe in North Dakota comes after the Justice Department and other agencies called for the need to seriously re-examine tribal members’ involvement in infrastructure projects such as the Dakota Access pipeline.
Native American tribes from around the nation have gathered to protest the North Dakota pipeline, which the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe believes would harm burial grounds and affect their water supply. Amy Sisk from Prairie Public Broadcasting said in an NPR interview that this protest is a “monumental moment” for Native Americans as so many have come together in solidarity for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to revisit the permits it originally granted the pipeline developers to build on the federal lands. The government also requested that the pipeline developers pause construction on the pipeline 40 miles around Lake Oahe. It is currently unknown whether the pipeline developers, Energy Transfer Partners, will heed to this request.
Energy Transfer had previously stated it had complied with all federal and state rules regarding the pipeline process and received all necessary permits to build the pipeline. It said the pipeline project would create several jobs, boost local economies, and provide a reliable way to transport oil.
It is uncertain how long the temporary pause on construction will last. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have said they are prepared to stay and fight for many seasons to come because they “won’t give this up.”
“I certainly don’t think that this is the end of the pipeline or the protests,” said Sisk in the NPR interview.