What’s Next for the Dakota Access Pipeline
On Sunday afternoon, it was announced that the Army Corp of Engineers will look to reroute construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In a statement released by the Army Corp of Engineers, they said, "The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing."
It is not clear exactly what will happen next. In order to reroute the pipeline, the Army Corp of Engineers now has to conduct environmental reviews of potential new routes which could continue the delay of the pipeline for months or even years according to the NY Times.
Last week in a memo obtained by the Associated Press, President-elect Donald Trump said he was in favor of the completion of the pipeline at the current location, not due to investments that Trump has in Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the construction of the pipeline, but due to "promoting policies that benefit all Americans."
North Dakota congressman Kevin Cramer who has served as an energy advisor to Trump, called Sunday's decision, "a chilling signal to others who want to build infrastructure in this country," according to the NY Times.
Cramer added, "I can’t wait for the adults to be in charge on Jan. 20," according to The Times.
It begs the question of whether or not the Trump administration could possibly overturn Sunday's decision in January when the President-elect takes office.
Due to that possibility, some protesters have said they will remain in the area and not go home. The NY Times reports that some protesters say there are too many uncertainties surrounding the decision made by the Army Corp of Engineers to leave now.
However, Dave Archambault II, the Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said, "It’s time now that we move forward. We don’t have to stand and endure this hard winter. We can spend the winter with our families."
Energy Transfer Partners released a statement Sunday night saying, "The White House’s directive today to the Corps for further delay is just the latest in a series of overt and transparent political actions by an administration which has abandoned the rule of law in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency."
The company added, "As stated all along, ETP [Energy Transfer Partners] and SXL [Sunoco Logistics Partners] are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way."
It's unlikely we'll have any answers about what happens next until Trump takes office on Jan. 20 to see if he reverses the decision. But even then, the Dakota Access Pipeline decision may not be a top priority for the administration as obviously there are a plethora of other issues surrounding the country that President-elect Trump has promised to tackle.