Indigenous Peoples

Obama blocks the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would have threatened the Sioux

Dopo aver perso la battaglia legale contro l’oleodotto Dakota access pipeline, i sioux ottengono ail sostegno di Barack Obama che blocca la costruzione.

It’s a temporary block, but it represents an important step for the Sioux’s battle against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). The decision has come right after that the court of Washington D.C. rejected the appeal filed by the Native American tribe.

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Native Americans march to protect their sacred lands from the construction of an the DAPL © Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Judge James Boasberg, which ruled against the Sioux, said that “the US Army Corps of Engineers had sufficiently followed federal law in approving the pipeline. The tribe’s claims that the pipeline crossed archaeological sites were moot, since most of those sites were on private property”. He also wrote: “Aware of the indignities visited upon the Tribe over the last centuries, the Court scrutinizes the permitting process here with particular care. Having done so, the Court must nonetheless conclude that the Tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here.”

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Native Americans demonstrated in Washington D.C. to support Dakota © Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The construction of the pipeline has been halted

Yet, the Obama administration made a surprise announcement, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Army, to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. “Construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time. We request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe”.

In the attempt to halt the bulldozers, demonstrators have been attacked by dogs © Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

There’s more. The statement also says that the Army Corps will now “reconsider any of its previous decisions”. So, the future of the pipeline is uncertain. Despite it mostly crosses the lands owned by the Energy Transfer Partners, the Army Corps has to approve it when it comes to federal water courses. If the construction is permanently blocked, the Dakota Access will be the second oil pipeline to be blocked in a year, after Keystone XL.

Involving native tribes, like the Sioux

The Obama administration has also pledged to consult the tribes so that national infrastructures will respect the rights of native communities.


Nello stesso giorno in cui Standing rock sioux ha appreso la sconfitta in tribunale è arrivato lo stop all’oleodotto da parte di Obama – Foto di Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Meanwhile, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has announced on Facebook that their lawyers will act on their legal options, including a new injunction that could force the company to completely block the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

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