person walks through the Oceti Sakowin camp where
people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access
oil pipeline as snow begins to fall in Cannon Ball,
N.D., Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Protesters who
celebrated a major victory in their push to reroute
the Dakota Access oil pipeline vowed to remain
camped on federal land as they wait to find out
whether President-elect Donald Trump might seek to
overturn a decision that delayed the $3.8 billion
BALL, N.D. — Industry leaders are urging President-elect
Donald Trump to make approval of the disputed Dakota
Access oil pipeline a "top priority" when he
takes office next month, while opponents who have
protested the project for months are vowing to stay put on
their sprawling North Dakota encampment despite harsh
winter weather and a tribal leaders' call to leave.
come after the Army declined to issue a permit for the
$3.8 billion pipeline to cross under a Missouri River
reservoir in southern North Dakota near the Standing Rock
Sioux Reservation. While the Army's decision doesn't end
the debate over the pipeline, industry analysts and the
chairman of the Native American tribe that's led the
protests said Monday they don't expect any developments
Rock Chairman Dave Archambault lauded the Army's decision
as taking "tremendous courage," and National
Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby
said it showed "respect for tribal sovereignty."
Standing Rock tribe believes the 1,200-mile pipeline to
transport North Dakota oil through the Dakotas and Iowa to
a shipping point in Illinois threatens drinking water and
cultural sites. Dallas-based pipeline developer Energy
Transfer Partners has denied that and said the pipeline
will be safe. The segment under Lake Oahe is the only
remaining big chunk of construction.
am hopeful President-elect Trump will reject the Obama
administration's shameful actions to deny this vital
energy project," American Petroleum Institute
President and CEO Jack Gerard said in a statement late
Sunday. The institute represents the U.S. oil and natural
supports construction of the pipeline, spokesman Jason
Miller told The Associated Press on Monday, but Miller
wouldn't say whether Trump would reverse the Army's
will review the full situation when we're in the White
House and make the appropriate determination at that
time," Miller said.
Sunday announcement by Assistant Army Secretary Jo-Ellen
Darcy does not actually deny an easement for the project,
but says additional review is needed. That means the
pipeline company cannot file an appeal because the project
was not formally rejected.
Transfer Partners slammed the decision as politically
motivated and alleged that President Barack Obama's
administration was determined to delay the matter until he
leaves office. The company is awaiting a decision from a
federal judge it asked earlier to give it permission to
drill under the lake.
environmental review, including alternate routes and spill
risks, could take as long as a year, though that is
considered unlikely under the Trump administration.
office, Trump could move to cancel the full review and
greenlight the project, but court cases remain pending and
any move by the new administration is sure to face a legal
challenge from one side or another.
Army's announcement likely delays the pipeline by at least
several months but does not kill it, energy analysts said.
While the company had hoped to begin piping oil next
spring, the project is now likely to be delayed until
summer or fall at the earliest, said Christi Tezak,
managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, a
Washington-based research firm.
Coalition, made up of agriculture, business and labor
entities that benefit from Midwest infrastructure
projects, hopes Trump will pave the way for completion of
the project. The industry group said the Army's decision
is "arrogance that working class Americans soundly
rejected" when they elected Trump.
of people describing themselves as "water
protectors" have been staying in the Oceti Sakowin,
or Seven Council Fires, protest encampment along the
pipeline route in southern North Dakota. Archambault,
anticipating no changes for months, on Monday urged them
to go home as dangerous wintry weather sets in.
purpose has been served," he said. "I'm thankful
for all the people who have come, all the people who have
stood by us, but there's no need ... to put people's lives
was a federal government-set deadline for the people to
leave the camp that's on federal land, though authorities
have said they won't forcibly remove anyone. Gov. Jack
Dalrymple last week also issued a "mandatory
evacuation" but said no one would be removed by
on Monday was bringing snow, strong winds and bitter cold
temperatures to the area, but people in camp were busy
shoring up housing and stockpiling firewood rather than
getting in their vehicles and leaving.
plan on staying until it's over," said Andy Shute,
30, of St. Louis.