It is undeniably unfortunate when a community of people is slighted in the name of political or economic gain. A recurring issue throughout the history of the United States has been the violation of Native American lands due to the construction of oil pipelines.
One community in such a situation, the Standing Rock Sioux, are located near to where the Dakota Access Pipeline will be. The group is concerned that the pipeline will contaminate the local water supply, as well as violate lands of cultural significance.
A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the groups’ concerns, but it was recently dismissed by District Judge James Boasberg. Consequently, the tribe was stunned when the Federal government decided to intervene in a tangible way, calling for a halt to the construction of the pipeline.
The Departments of Justice and the Interior, in addition to the Army Corp of Engineers, issued a joint statement, saying “This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”
Dave Archambault II, the tribal chairman, stated “A public policy win is a lot stronger than a judicial win…Our message is heard.” The hope is that this move by the Federal Government will set a precedent for future administrations by considering the perspectives of any community that would be affected by such projects.
By Timothy McNally.