Standing Rock | KUOW News and Information

Standing Rock

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration failed to follow proper environmental procedures when it granted approval to the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project.

It's a legal victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and environmentalists, who protested for months against the pipeline. Oil started flowing through it earlier this month. The tribe fears that the pipeline, which crosses the Missouri River just upstream of its reservation, could contaminate its drinking water and sacred lands.

A federal judge has denied a request by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River tribes to halt construction of the final piece of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In North Dakota, authorities set Wednesday as the deadline for the dwindling number of protesters against the Dakota Access pipeline to clean up and go home.

At the main protest camp, a massive cleanup effort has been underway. Semi trucks have been hauling debris out of camp and people here are piling garbage into bags.

"It looks like a trash pile. But it's getting picked up and every spot is starting to look better and better as we work together," Dotty Agard of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe says as she sorts through abandoned goods.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted an easement allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under the Missouri River north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, paving the way for construction of the final 1.5 miles of the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline.

In doing so, the Army cut short its environmental impact assessment and the public comment period associated with it.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET on Feb. 1

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Tuesday that the acting secretary of the Army had directed the Corps of Engineers to "proceed with the easement" necessary for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

KUOW Photo / Rachel Lam

    

The day I arrived at Oceti Sakowin, I felt like I had come home. 

Opponents who spent months resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline were disheartened by President Trump's decision Tuesday to "expedite" construction of the controversial project. Dave Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, called the move "reckless and politically motivated." Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union said it was "a slap in the face to Native Americans." Earthjustice, the law firm that represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, described it as "legally questionable at best" and vowed to take the Trump administration to court.

Bill Radke talks with Seattle Times environment reporter Lynda Mapes about the Dakota Access Pipeline. President Trump signed an executive order to resurrect the pipeline, which was given an indefinite hold in December. Mapes says Trump will face legal obstacles to construct the pipeline and protestors will continue to fight, in court and in person. 

White House advisor and former Washington state Sen. Don Benton is part of the team implementing the president’s agenda at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Benton was sworn in as senior advisor Saturday, he said. The job is a temporary position, but could be extended. During the campaign, Benton served as Trump’s campaign chairman in Washington.

The Trump administration is pushing forward with plans for two major oil pipelines in the U.S., projects that sparked nationwide demonstrations and legal fights under President Barack Obama.

President Trump on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for construction of two controversial oil pipelines, the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access.

As he signed the paperwork in an Oval Office photo op, Trump said his administration is "going to renegotiate some of the terms" of the Keystone project, which would carry crude oil from the tar sands of western Canada and connect to an existing pipeline to the Gulf Coast.

Even though most of the protesters fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota have left, hundreds still remain here atop what is essentially a sheet of ice.

One group of campers say there's a change taking hold at camp, which was once overrun by thousands who felt a sense of excitement about the gathering.

For months, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others in North Dakota mounted a massive protest against the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, in part over concerns that any leak could contaminate their drinking water.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council Chairman Dave Archambault said Wednesday that any Dakota Access oil pipeline route that stays off treaty lands would be acceptable.

But the uproar and weeks of protest surrounding the pipeline's route goes beyond that one project, he said: "If, for the first time, this nation can listen and hear us, they'll understand that this is about climate change."

The sun was shining on opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Sunday, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would not approve the final and key part of the controversial project. Less than 24 hours later, many of those people were huddling in shelters or trying to escape the rural camp as a brutal winter storm bore down on them.

Cars slid off roads and tents were blown over as winds gusted to more than 50 mph, causing near white-out conditions on the short stretch of highway between the protesters' camp and the small town of Cannon Ball, N.D.

Is the Standing Rock fight over?

Dec 5, 2016
A Dakota Access pipeline protester defies law enforcement officers who are trying to force them from a camp on private land in the path of pipeline construction, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 near Cannon Ball, N.D.
AP Photo/James MacPherson

Bill Radke talks with Seattle Times environment reporter Lynda Mapes about the recent win by the protestors at Standing Rock. Mapes explains why the recent decision from the Army Corps of Engineers puts an indefinite hold on the pipeline. She also sees that this kind of success may embolden protestors searching for a new cause. 

Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET on Dec. 6

The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota is asking people camping near the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline to go home.

"I'm asking them to go," Dave Archambault III told Reuters on Monday, saying that the Obama administration "did the right thing," and that he hoped to "educate the incoming administration" of President-elect Donald Trump.

"Nothing will happen this winter," he said.

Sunday's victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its battle against an oil pipeline in North Dakota is big news for a tribal member living in the Pacific Northwest.

Ace Baker is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux who lives with his family on the Swinomish Reservation near La Conner, Washington. Baker spent about three weeks participating in protests.

He said it was "hard to believe" the news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had denied the easements for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be build beneath the Missouri River. Construction has stopped.

Rachel Lam

KUOW’s RadioActive youth producer Rachel Lam was on the front lines at Standing Rock, North Dakota last week, where thousands of people are protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline. The Army Corps of Engineers says they have to leave their biggest camp by Monday, December 5

The governor of North Dakota says he has not authorized roadblocks or forcible removal of protesters from the area near the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple spoke to reporters in an effort to clarify the implications of an evacuation order he issued earlier this week, which he said had led to "some miscommunication" with local law enforcement.

A Dakota Access pipeline protester defies law enforcement officers who are trying to force them from a camp on private land in the path of pipeline construction, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 near Cannon Ball, N.D.
AP Photo/James MacPherson

A Seattle official is speaking out in support of the protests in North Dakota, a week before the camp could be shut down. Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez has supported the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline all along.

At Standing Rock, North Dakota.
Courtesy Robie Sterling

A few Seattle doctors returned this week from a rotation in Standing Rock, North Dakota. That’s where an estimated 2,000 protesters are demonstrating against the Dakota Access oil pipeline. We talked with one doctor, who was part of triage team as the standoff escalated Sunday night.


A woman protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline who was wounded earlier this week might lose her arm as a result of the injury, her family says. Sophia Wilansky's injury is the most gruesome to date of the months-long standoff at Standing Rock, N.D.

"The doctor just said she may need as many as 20 surgeries over very many months to have any hope of saving her arm and her hand," Wilansky's father, Wayne Wilansky, told a group of reporters outside a Minneapolis hospital.

As resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, N.D., concludes its seventh month, two narratives have emerged:

  1. We have never seen anything like this before.
  2. This has been happening for hundreds of years.

Both are true. The scope of the resistance at Standing Rock exceeds just about every protest in Native American history. But that history itself, of indigenous people fighting to protect not just their land, but the land, is centuries old.

Police and demonstrators opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline clashed overnight on a bridge that has been a flashpoint in the ongoing protests.

"Police say protesters set fires in the area Sunday night and threw rocks at officers," Prairie Public Broadcasting's Amy Sisk reported. But an activist said in a live-stream video that projectiles fired from the police side started the fires and that demonstrators, who call themselves water protectors, were trying to extinguish the flames.

Front page of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper on March 9, 1970.
University of Washington

People across the nation are protesting and Native Americans are occupying. It’s against the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Monday that it needs more information before it can decide whether to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built along its planned route.

In a joint statement by the U.S. Army and Department of the Interior, the Corps announced it had finished a review of the route, and concluded that more study was needed before it could grant the pipeline company the easement it needs to cross under a section of the Missouri River.

“For a lot of Americans the image they carry in their imagination of Indian peoples is teepees, war bonnets, and Sitting Bull at Wounded Knee and Custer’s last stand – these are those people. This is that place,” said Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes, describing the scene of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.

“Once again, here we are. They’re getting chased off a piece of land that’s in the path of a pipeline.”


Police used pepper spray and what they called nonlethal ammunition to remove Dakota Access Pipeline protesters from federal land Wednesday. Demonstrators say they were trying to occupy land just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where construction of the controversial pipeline is scheduled.

Several hundred supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe staged a protest at the Army Corps of Engineers building in downtown Portland.

A plan to build an oil pipeline across land and rivers important to the Standing Rock Sioux has sparked one of the largest, most diverse tribal protest movements in decades. Last week, more than 100 protesters were arrested at their encampment in North Dakota.

In Portland on Monday, hundreds of protesters gathered in solidarity, carrying signs that declared "Water is Life" and "No Dakota Access Pipeline."

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