Monday afternoon, the Society of Native Nations held a press conference outside the Army Corps of Engineers to address recent developments in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Army Corps announced Sunday that they would deny easement. They made it clear that an environmental impact study and further analysis would have to come about before any permits could be issued for construction.
The purpose of this press conference was two-fold: 1) to showcase the joy at this small victory in this long battle for clean water and Native sovereignty; and 2) to maintain to the community that this war is not yet over. Energy Transfer Partners has vowed to continue building, as they will only incur a $50,000 fine on their $3.8 billion dollar project. Yolonda Bluehorse, a local organizer for Society of Native Nations, made sure to talk about how important it was to keep eyes on Standing Rock, and how she hoped that now that Energy Transfer Partners has vowed to break the law, law enforcement would be holding up their duty to hold them accountable.
Jesse Puente, another local activist who has made the trip to Standing Rock twice to help prepare for winter, also stated the importance that media NOT ignore the situation and that everyone stay unified in this effort.
Standing Rock Currently
News of the Army Corps decision certainly brightened up the spirits of many water protectors on the front lines, particularly after an estimated 2,100 veterans joined the ranks. Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault has asked water protectors to go home, as the savage North Dakota winter has begun to take its toll on those unprepared for the deadly conditions. Still, many are determined to bunker down for the long winter ahead with the help of fortified tipis, yurts, and other housing.
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There will be a series of upcoming protests held outside Wells Fargo banks across the state. A major contributor to the Dakota Access Pipeline project, Wells Fargo should be held accountable for where their customers’ money is invested.