Published: Sat, March 11, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Native Americans march to the White House in spiritual battle against pipeline

Native Americans march to the White House in spiritual battle against pipeline

And yet this week Dakota Access Pipeline protesters are gathering in Washington, D.C., to continue the fight.

A USA federal judge has declined to temporarily halt construction of the final section of the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline.

American Indian tribes have long argued that the $3.8 billion underground pipeline - which would run almost 1,200 miles from oil fields in North Dakota to an existing pipeline in IL - endangers cultural sites and drinking water that comes from the Missouri River. And the Army Corps' final EIS failed to mention that a reservation of more than 8,000 relied exclusively on the Missouri River for its water.

Native American groups staged a march to the White House Friday against the construction of a controversial oil pipeline which they fear could lead to the desecration of tribal lands.

But in January, President Trump signed executive orders to revive the projects. Sioux tribal chairman David Archambault II traveled to Washington expecting to meet with Trump administration officials to make the case for permanently halting construction, but was informed upon arrival that the decision to move forward had already been made.

"We have more than a million miles of pipeline in the United States right now, we just don't need anymore", said Johnny Jo King, with Savanah Stands with Standing Rock.

For months, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to write a comprehensive assessment of the impact the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and a potential spill under the Missouri River could have on North Dakota's poorest indigenous community. As of noon local time, there was no reported violence, and the protesters planned to end the march at the White House. The Army Corps of Engineers halted construction on the mostly-built Dakota Access Pipeline in early December 2016.

"This whole experience has really been a roller coaster ride of emotions", said Kandi Mossett, a resident from North Dakota.

The tribes anticipate that court will rule in April or May on their broader challenges to the pipeline, which include allegations that the project was approved in violation of treaty rights and contrary to environmental and administrative law. It's a message we'd do well by taking to heart.

Protesters had been camping out near the Dakota Access Pipeline route for months, often getting into clashes with police that sent people on both sides to the hospital. Now, in solidarity with this morning's Rise With Standing Rock Native Nations March in Washington, D.C., there will be a Native Nations March on Denver. Trump said that the project would put thousands of Americans back to work.

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