Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members will be among those set to participate in a listening session hosted by the Obama Administration. The session aims to gather tribal input on reforming the consultation process for infrastructure projects.
This is the first of a number of sessions to be held following months of attempts to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near Cannonball, North Dakota.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and many other tribes and supporters have spent months attempting to block construction of the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile pipe. They believe the environmental threats it poses and the obligation to consult with the indigenous people have been ignored in the process.
If completed, the pipeline would transport up to 500,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil per day across the country to Illinois. It would pass under the Missouri River which is the main water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and millions of others in the region.
Opponents to the pipeline claim sacred sites have already been destroyed by Dakota Access Pipeline works and are seeking to halt construction altogether.
According to David Archambault II, Chair of the Standing Rock Sioux, “Today’s listening session is a critical opportunity to inform the process moving forward so that other tribes don’t suffer the same losses as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.”
He goes on to say “Because of a failed process by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, we have experienced unimaginable losses, Energy Transfer Partners knowingly bulldozed over the burials of our Lakota and Dakota ancestors.”
A statement issued by the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior said;
The Army continues to review issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Tribal nations and their members and hopes to conclude its ongoing review soon. In the interim, the Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe. We repeat our request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.
“We also look forward to a serious discussion during a series of consultations, starting with a listening session in Phoenix on Tuesday, on whether there should be nationwide reform on the Tribal consultation process for these types of infrastructure projects.”
While construction has halted temporarily in some areas, the company is continuing construction elsewhere.
Yesterday Divergent and Insurgent actress Shailene Woodley live streamed her arrest at another gathering where people in opposition to the pipeline were attempting to shut down machinery working on the construction.