Within the past couple of weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers indicated that the Standing Rock protest camps must depart by December 5. However, the ACE also indicated that the tribe would not be forcibly removed from the demonstration site. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that such a toothless threat would result in the project being delayed indefinitely.
In a statement, Assistant Army Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said alternate routes needed to be explored. Members of the tribe argue that the pipeline, which would carry nearly half a million barrels a day from the Bakken and Three Forks oil fields to a crude terminal near near Pakota, Ill., would damage sacred Native American sites and pollute their water.
The tribe's reservation boundary is half a mile south of the proposed crossing under Lake Oahe, an Army Corps of Engineers project on the Missouri River in North Dakota.
"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."
Alternate routes would be considered with full public input and analysis and an Environmental Impact Statement, she said.
Again, the objections over burial grounds being desecrated and water being polluted have been answered. A federal project of this magnitude is never just jammed through without layers of government bureaucracies signing off and multiple regulatory requirements being satisfied.
In the end, it's quite possible this project will receive the appropriate easements and thus move forward once Donald Trump is officially sworn in as President on January 20. House Speaker Paul Ryan almost insinuated that much.
This is big-government decision-making at its worst. I look forward to putting this anti-energy presidency behind us. https://t.co/Qu0nFTmGZv— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) December 5, 2016
And the reaction of Craig Stevens, who is a spokesperson with Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now:
You can also listen to my Saturday interview with North Dakota blogger Rob Port, who shared some valuable insights that you just won't get from the vacuous photo memes your lefty friends share on Facebook. The audio link to Rob's appearance is here.