WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2016 – With protests continuing to mount against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Obama administration decided to stop construction of the controversial project.

The U. S. Army announced that it will not approve an easement that would allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, the Army's Assistant Secretary for Civil Works announced today. Jo-Ellen Darcy said she based her decision on a need to explore alternate routes for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing.

"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."

Darcy said that the consideration of alternative routes would be best accomplished through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis.

The pipeline would connect the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to an existing crude oil terminal near Pakota, Illinois. The Northern Border pipeline, which carries natural gas, already crosses Lake Oahe along much of the same proposed route as the Dakota Access pipeline.

Darcy’s office had announced on November 14, 2016 that it was delaying the decision on the easement to allow for discussions with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies about a half-mile south of the proposed crossing. Tribal officials have expressed concerns that a pipeline rupture or spill could harm its water supply and treaty rights.

In a statement, Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II applauded the news and commended “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 history and to do the right thing.”

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He also noted his hope that the incoming Trump administration would respect the decision.

On Nov. 15, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners, which own the Dakota Access Pipeline, filed suit in the U.S. federal district court in Washington, D. C., seeking a judgement declaring that they have the legal right-of-way to build, complete and operate the pipeline without any further action from the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Dakota Access Pipeline has waited long enough to complete this pipeline. Dakota Access Pipeline has been granted every permit, approval, certificate, and right-of-way needed for the pipeline’s construction. It is time for the Courts to end this political interference and remove whatever legal cloud that may exist over the right-of-way beneath federal land at Lake Oahe,” said Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, said in a statement.  


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