Army Corps Decides Not to Grant Easement for Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing

Published on Dec 04, 2016

Today the Army Corp of Engineers announced its decision not to grant the easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing the Missouri immediately above the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, and to study alternate routes. 

“Our prayers have been answered.  This isn’t over, but it is enormously good news,” praised NCAI President Brian Cladoosby.  “All tribal peoples have prayed from the beginning for a peaceful solution, and this puts us back on track.  From the beginning, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has asked for a full environmental analysis to consider threats to the water, and also the social and cultural impacts.  Peace, and prayer, and water protectors have led to the right outcome.”

“The Army Corps, the Justice Department, and the Interior Department deserve great credit for conducting a government-to-government consultation with Standing Rock and many other Tribal Nation Leaders. We express great appreciation to the leadership,” Cladoosby continued. “Full consideration of Tribal impacts is necessary, and it will help to de-escalate the confrontation at Standing Rock.”

Tribal leaders from all over the country have gathered in a serious of government-to-government consultation meetings, in Phoenix, Seattle, Albuquerque, Billings, Maine, Minneapolis, and Rapid City.   The unprecedented showing of support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline has been due to the long history of infrastructure projects bringing great harms to Tribal lands, waters, treaty rights, and sacred places. 

“Although tribes want and support infrastructure development,” said Cladoosby, “not at the cost of our drinking water and sacred sites.   We have to be at the table early to plan so that infrastructure benefits everyone.”

The movement at Standing Rock has brought an important opportunity to address the nation-to-nation relationship in the context of infrastructure decision-making.   NCAI Resolution PHX-16-067 has urged that for any project affecting Tribal lands, waters, treaty rights, or sacred spaces, at the outset the United States must recognize that Indian Nations are governments, consider treaty rights and the trust obligations, including informed consent, uphold all statutory obligations, and ensure that Tribes are not carrying the burdens without the benefits.

“We are entering a season of cold and snow, in North Dakota, and also a time of celebrating the holidays,” Cladoosby concluded.  “We hope everyone involved on all sides of this issue will be able to be with their families for the holidays, while the project route is reconsidered.   We can all pause to celebrate the Creator.  In the New Year, let us put our minds together and see how we can find a solution.”

To read the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Press Release CLICK HERE.


About The National Congress of American Indians:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit

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