There’s some good news from Standing Rock this week: good in the way that mere bureacracy always looks heroic when set beside rank cruelty and neglect.
The US Army Corps has agreed to prepare an environmental impact statement on the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline otherwise known as DAPL. This impact statement, as Natives have said for months, should have been prepared before Energy Transfer Partners ever gained license to reroute the pipeline away from Bismarck, ND, and begin construction through treaty lands and, potentially, under the Missouri River.
Tribal chairman David Archambault has asked that those “standing with Standing Rock” leave Oceti Sakowin Camp and return home now. Veterans only just joined water protectors in the snow this weekend.
On Sunday, the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the 1,172-mile pipeline to cross under a dammed section of the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The river crossing is the last major piece of the pipeline that remains unfinished.” —Rebecca Hersher (December 5, 2016)
So there’s a reprieve now, but there’s also the issue of the pipeline project still being live. A week and a half ago I read one of the Standing Rock Tribe’s statements and wondered whether its goal had shifted from “No” to “NIMBY,” from stopping the pipeline to merely moving it to some other community. I hope it hasn’t shifted in that way.
In the meantime, some of the veterans who went to Standing Rock are now planning to move on to Flint, MI, where residents haven’t had safe drinking water for more than two and a half years.
This isn’t the final chapter by any means, regardless of the government’s single decisions in this case. Because if water is life, then it’s worth protecting for all of us, everywhere, not only where the money flows and not only when the cameras are on.