Jane Kleeb, Bold Nebraska, 402-705-3622,

Obama Administration Denies Final Dakota Access Easement Permit; Army Corps Orders Review of Route, Full Environmental Impact Statement

Cannon Ball, N.D. — The Obama administration announced on Sunday that the Army Corps of Engineers has denied the final easement permit application needed to complete construction of the Dakota Access pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

Additionally, the Corps lays out conditions including a review of the pipeline route, and full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be conducted if the company still intends to move forward with this project that is trampling sovereign rights, abusing eminent domain for private gain, and threatening our land, water and climate.

The announcement was welcomed at Standing Rock, where thousands of Water Protectors have for months endured violent attacks — pepper spray, rubber bullets, attack dogs, water cannons, LRAD sound cannons, concussion grenades — and inhumane treatment at the hands of law enforcement and private security.

Water Protectors have been maimed during these escalations by law enforcement and private security, and those arrested during nonviolent acts of civil disobedience have been routinely subjected to strip searches, and detained in dog kennels inside a parking garage.

The movement of Water Protectors at Standing Rock and all who stand with them pledge to continue to fight until Dakota Access pipeline is defeated and no oil passes through any pipe already in the ground.

View Army Corps of Engineers statement:

Statement of Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II:
“We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision. We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause. We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us, and the tens of thousands who donated time, talent, and money to our efforts to stand against this pipeline in the name of protecting our water. We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need.”


“This is an amazing victory for Standing Rock — but also for the many other Tribal Nations, grassroots Indigenous communities and millions of Americans around the country who have stood in solidarity with us here in person, at rallies around the country, and through phone calls and letters. This is a victory for organizing, and it doesn’t stop now. We are asking our supporters to keep up the pressure, because 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

“We have won. The original peoples of these lands fought with all of our hearts against injustice and won. We have been maced, tased, demeaned, hit with water cannons in below freezing temperatures, we stand on the strength of our ancestors before us. The inaction from the administration and media was answered by our refusal to back down. Let this send a message around the world: we are still here. We are empowered. We are not sacrifice zones. Mni wiconi, water is life.”
—Tara Houska, Honor the Earth National Campaigns Director

“The Sierra Club applauds and thanks the Obama administration for listening to the Standing Rock Sioux, the Water Protectors, and the millions of Americans across the country who have opposed this dangerous pipeline. The fight to reject the Dakota Access Pipeline is not over, but the administration’s announcement today ensures Energy Transfer cannot continue its assault on the Standing Rock Sioux’s home, history, and heritage. History has taught us that it is never a question whether a pipeline will spill, but rather a question of when. A comprehensive environmental review will show that this dirty and dangerous project will threaten the safety of every community it cuts through. The Sierra Club stands in unity with the Standing Rock Sioux, and we are ready to continue the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.”
—Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director

“For months now, Standing Rock has been the moral center of the country. The Obama administration recognized that moral stature today; it also recognized the environmental racism implicit in this misbegotten pipeline. Such thanks to the Indigenous communities that organized so prayerfully and powerfully; we will all follow their lead and stay vigilant!”
—Bill McKibben, co-founder

“Water protectors prayed, held the line and today celebrate the Obama Administration’s bold step to reject the Dakota Access pipeline easement. As farmers head into court to protect their land from eminent domain abuse, their backbones are stiffened with the strength of the Obama Administration’s acknowledgement that an environmental review of the pipeline was never conducted. The unlikely alliances across our country are unified to protect the land and water from these risky and unnecessary pipelines. The Great Sioux Nation put out the unifying call “Water is Life” and the country answered.”
—Jane Kleeb, Bold Alliance President

“Today is a historic day both for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and for indigenous people everywhere. This pipeline never should have been routed near these sacred lands in the first place, and it absolutely never should have received permits without a thorough and meaningful discussion of the risks and benefits to affected Indian Tribes. Today’s announcement that a full environmental impact statement will be prepared is a huge step towards rational decision-making for a project of this magnitude. Dakota Access took a reckless gamble with its investor’s money when it built its pipeline to either side of the river without the easement. Despite the extraordinary public controversy and overwhelming opposition to this pipeline, Dakota Access rejected the government’s request to voluntary cease construction.  Today, Dakota Access and its investors reap the consequences of this reckless gamble.”
—Jan Hasselman, Earthjustice attorney who represented the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their lawsuit to deny this permit

“The water protectors have done it. This is a monumental victory in the fight to protect Indigenous rights and sovereignty. Today’s decision shows that when people unite to stand for what’s right, they can alter the course of history. Greenpeace is grateful to the over 300 Indigenous communities, allies, and veterans at Standing Rock for standing up for all of us and showing us the way forward. The Obama Administration and Army Corps of Engineers deserve significant praise for having the courage to stand up and admit that the permitting process was flawed. This pipeline should have never been rerouted from north of Bismarck to cut through Standing Rock’s treaty lands. We are confident that a thorough environmental impact statement will show that this pipeline will jeopardize land and water supply no matter where they attempt to place it. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground. Energy Transfer Partners, Governor Dalrymple, and President-Elect Trump must respect today’s decision and recognize the will of the people to stop this disastrous pipeline. The fight doesn’t end today. Any attempt to circumvent the easement denial will be met with staunch resistance.”
—Lilian Molina, Greenpeace

“Today’s news shows that when progressives fight, we win. CREDO has waged an extensive, multi-front campaign to support the indigenous-led effort to stop the Dakota Access pipeline – but this fight is not over yet. While we are thrilled that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe got the justice they deserve today, we can be sure Donald Trump won’t let this stand without a fight. We will continue fighting with every tool at our disposal to make sure the Dakota Access pipeline is never completed.”
—Josh Nelson, CREDO Deputy Political Director

“This is incredible news for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their fight to protect their drinking water and indigenous lands. It has become everyone’s fight,” said Randi Spivak with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It is not a question of if pipelines will fail, but when. The Army Corps must also examine the alternative of no pipeline— that is the only to way to protect our climate, water and indigenous lands.”
—Randi Spivak, Center for Biological Diversity

“The League of Conservation Voters applauds the Obama administration for today’s important decision not to grant the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline and to call for a full environmental review.  We have been honored to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Water Protectors who have assembled peacefully to protect their water, their beliefs, and their places of cultural and spiritual importance, and we congratulate them on this incredible win.”
—Tiernan Sittenfeld, SVP for Government Affairs, League of Conservation Voters

“First and foremost, this is an incredible victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the thousands of water protectors who joined them in bold resistance to the dangerous Dakota Access pipeline. We salute them for their leadership and thank them for the resolve that has brought us to this day. The fight to stop the Dakota Access pipeline will continue, but today marks an important step in that fight and we thank the Obama administration for taking this step. There are important lessons from this victory as we enter into the next four years of a Trump administration. First, our movement must continue to take leadership from Native communities and all those on the frontlines bearing the impacts of the fossil fuel industry. Second, bold and unflinching nonviolent civil disobedience and direct action is a critical element of our resistance to the fossil fuel industry and fight for justice. As we enter into the Trump administration, these lessons will be critical elements to our collective resistance. We look forward to the full environmental impact statement now required for the Dakota Access pipeline. We know it fails any reasonable climate test along with threatening critical water supplies, and we will stand with Standing Rock to be sure that the pipeline will never be completed.”
—Stephen Kretzmann, Oil Change International Executive Director

“Today we witnessed the strength of powerful organizing and another demonstration of the resilience and power of this nation’s First Citizens. Environmental Action applauds the efforts of the Native-led resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which made history and captured worldwide attention. The “Black Snake” is bewildered, but it’s not dead yet. Rerouting would not be a complete victory as we are mindful that it was NIMBYism that almost caused sovereign Native land to again be treated as a sacrifice zone – no community should be held hostage by poisonous pipelines. May this resistance serve as a model for all upcoming fights against fossil fuel infrastructure. We are thankful to Army Corps for exercising prudence and good judgement in ordering the completion of a full Environmental Impact Statement, which we are confident will reveal what we already know; this pipeline is unnecessary and placement of it anywhere would lead to contamination of our waters and add insult to our climate. The time has come to shift our energy production away from fossil fuels and to 100% renewable energy. We will continue to press forward until we get this result for our climate, our planet and future generations.”
—Anthony Rogers-Wright, Environmental Action Policy and Organizing Director

“MNI WICONI! This is what happens when the youth organizes for the water and wakes up the whole world.  This is a great day for indigenous rights, climate activism and Justice in America. It is fantastic that Barack Obama has declared himself to be on the right side of history. This decision will save lives, save the water supply for 17 milion people. The fight is not over by any means. We have hundreds of pipelines to fight across America but I am so grateful to the Standing Rock Nation and everyone at all the camps for showing us the way. This movement is grounded in indigenous values of respect, prayer, love, community and resilience. Our whole culture needs to learn from Standing Rock.”
Josh Fox, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker (“Gasland”)

“We are happy to see that the Obama administration has finally made an effort to put a halt to the violence at Standing Rock. The sacrifices made by the Water Protectors cannot be understated. They put their bodies on the line for their community and all future generations.  Those of us who will be living with the effects of global climate change the longest- young people – are grateful for their bravery and sacrifice.”
—Lydia Avila, Power Shift Network Executive Director

“When we fight, we win. This announcement is a testament to the power of organizing and will provide a template for fossil fuel resistance across the country. The Indigenous-led resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline has mobilized millions of people who support tribal sovereignty, clean air and water, and climate justice. All of us will be ready for the fights ahead, against this pipeline, and all the fossil fuel industry projects that threaten our communities and climate. If Trump tries to go up against the leaders at Standing Rock he’ll just end up looking petty and small. They’ve shown what real bravery looks like–bravery that stands in stark contrast to Trump’s cowardly tweets and his toxic misogyny and racism. The fight against Dakota Access has fired up a resistance movement that is ready to take on any fossil fuel project the Trump administration tries to approve. On Dakota Access and every other pipeline: if he tries and build it, we will come.”
—May Boeve, Execuitve Director

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Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Statement

Army Corps of Engineers statement on DAPL