For months now, there have been protesters at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation who call themselves the water protectors. This is because a corporation wanted to build an oil pipeline through the river that supplies the water to that area. The protesters have had police dogs sicced on them, water cannons shot at them by police, and still they soldiered on. Now, their relentless activism has finally paid off, as the Obama Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers is denying the final permit needed to continue the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Construction on the pipeline will stop immediately, and it seems that the pipeline will be re-routed away from the reservation. Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy says of the decision:
“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.”
“The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
Attorney General Loretta Lynch says that she and her Justice Department will still be involved in the situation at Standing Rock due to the contentious nature of the months of protests and clashes with police. She says:
“The department remains committed to supporting local law enforcement, defending protestors’ constitutional right to free speech and fostering thoughtful dialogue on the matter.”
“The safety of everyone in the area – law enforcement officers, residents and protesters alike – continues to be our foremost concern.”
Sioux Chairman David Archambault says of the decision:
“We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude 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 of history and to do the right thing.”
Unfortunately, with Donald Trump taking office in January, this victory is likely only temporary. Trump fully supports the pipeline, and has reportedly invested in it himself, which explains his position.
Clean drinking water is a basic human right, and those who support this dangerous pipeline are a disgrace to humanity. It never should have taken all of this to get such a project stopped in the first place. Threatening the water supply of millions over money is nothing short of obscene. Further, it is just more proof that rich, powerful CEOs and politicians will stop at nothing to please their corporate overlords, and they will continue to violate the rights of Native Americans, as has been happening for more than 250 years.
It is the year 2016. Let us respect the culture and sacred lands of our native brothers and sisters, and make sure EVERYONE’s water supply is always protected.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images