The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Sunday it would not allow the controversial Dakota Pipeline project to proceed, denying permits for the project while it conducts an environmental review to assess route of the 1,170-mile pipeline.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which is opposed to the pipeline on the grounds that it threatens their water supply, has led a months-long protest that has drawn hundreds to the site in North Dakota and just this week garnered support from veterans groups who joined protestors who were refusing to leave the area.
The Army Corps in a statement Sunday said it would not allow the pipeline to be built under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir. The corps said it would explore alternative routes for the pipeline that do not involve crossing the Missouri there.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell released a statement supporting the decision. “The thoughtful approach established by the Army today ensures that there will be an in-depth evaluation of alternative routes for the pipeline and a closer look at potential impacts,” Jewell said in the statement.
“The army’s announcement underscores that tribal rights reserved in treaties and federal laws … are essential components of the analysis to be undertaken in the environmental impact statement going forward,” she said.