Innocent people had been getting tased, maced, shot with rubber bullets, and blasted with water cannons in below freezing temperatures for weeks, and Obama wouldn’t say a word about it.
However, when veterans joined the front lines to protect innocent people from the violence of the local police force, and Bernie Sanders put increasing public pressure on him, the President finally spoke up.
On December 5, Obama’s administration and the US Army Corps denied Dakota Access the last remaining easement it needs to drill under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe, halting completion of the pipeline.
So how could the pipeline still be constructed without rerouting?
Although this sounds like a victory on the surface, the corporations behind the pipeline (Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics) are not worried.
They reminded everyone that they are “committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe” and that the Obama decision doesn’t change that “in any way”.
And, unfortunately, the corporations could get around all of this in two ways:
- Obama’s decision isn’t permanent. Trump will most likely approve the project.
- Obama never guaranteed that the government will use force to keep the corporations from defying the law. Energy Transfer Partners can still drill under the river without a permit, an action that they’ve often taken in the past.
Are protestors abandoning Standing Rock?
Standing Rock water protectors do not intend to leave after hearing this “good news”. This was just an attempt to derail the growing protest movement. There is $3.8 billion at stake, and Big Oil is not going to give in easily.
While President Obama has granted us a victory today, that victory isn’t guaranteed in the next administration. More threats are likely in the year to come, and we cannot stop until this pipeline is completely and utterly defeated, and our water and climate are safe.
— Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network
The fight is not over.