The US Army Corps of Engineers [official website] announced Sunday that an alternate route [press release] will be investigated for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) [USACE backgrounder]. Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Works, continued [official statement] that in accordance with the need to further investigate alternative routes, an easement will not be granted to Dakota Access, LLC [corporate website], the company proposing to build the pipeline.
The Dakota Access Pipeline [information website], is a partially constructed oil pipeline that would transport more than 470,000 barrels of oil per day over its 1,172 mile length through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. The controversy surrounding the project is connected with its proposed proximity to multiple large bodies of water that could become irreparably contaminated should the pipeline fail. Protesters have made camp at the site since early summer and are led in part by the Indigenous Environmental Network [advocacy website] and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe [official website]. Conflict between protesters and police has been condemned by both the UN and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In November the ACLU reported that police at the Standing Rock site in North Dakota used life-threatening weapons to control protesters [JURIST report]. Earlier that month a UN rights group released a statement expressing concerns that the US government is ignoring treaty rights, as well as human rights [JURIST report] of Native Americans and others that are protesting the DAPL.