The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council urged Dakota Access Pipeline protesters, also called water protectors, to stand down. After securing international attention and pressuring the Army Corps. of Engineers to suspend the pipeline easement until a full environmental review takes place, the tribe is calling on protesters to go home despite their acknowledgement that the fight is not over.
The Standing Rock Sioux’s chairman, Dave Archambault II, informed activists that the remainder of the fight will not be held on the ground but in the courts. Earthjustice is a non-profit legal agency that will represent the Standing Rock Sioux in court. According to Earthjustice President Tripp Van Noppen, Earthjustice lawyers plan to take aim at President Trump’s personal financial investment in the pipeline. They believe that they can win their case based on ethical violations made by the Trump administration.
The lawsuit’s affect on pipeline construction is uncertain. The Army Corps. of Engineers may finalize their environmental impact statement in less than a month, at which point construction can resume. Earthjustice will have to stall progress before it can completely eradicate the pipeline. In the interim, activists have until January 30 to clear the site.
The Standing Rock Sioux have good reason to demand that protesters leave the site. Spring rains and snow-melt have the potential to overwhelm the protest site’s latrine system which could negatively impact the environment that activists are trying to protect. Additionally, altercations between activists and law enforcement risk hurting the tribe’s position in the court.
Categories: Native American, Native American Tribes, Standing Rock Sioux, The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council