Tribe Welcomes Army Corps Decision on Dakota Access Pipeline, But Fight Far From Over

Posted Dec. 14, 2016

MP3 Interview with Stephanie Tsosie, associate attorney with Earthjustice, conducted by Scott Harris


The largest gathering of indigenous tribes in the U.S. in many decades came together in North Dakota in July to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their native and non-native allies won an important victory on Dec. 4 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers refused to grant the pipeline an easement to cross under the Missouri River.

Opponents of the pipeline project organized to protect the Standing Rock tribe’s sacred burial sites and the waters of the Missouri River from being crossed by a fracked oil pipeline that they believed endangered their sole source of drinking water. The anti-pipeline coalition employed a variety of tactics that included non-violent civil disobedience protest, lawsuits and a boycott of banks investing in the project. Overall, activists, calling themselves “Water Protectors,” were successful in focusing attention on their struggle across the U.S. and the world. Confrontations between activists and law enforcement resulted in hundreds of arrests and several serious injuries.

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Stephanie Tsosie, associate attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental law group that has litigated the case on behalf of the Standing Rock tribe. Here, she assesses the decision of the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an environmental impact review of the pipeline and explore alternate routes, as well as the likely struggles ahead under President-elect Trump, who is a supporter of the pipeline project.

For more information on resistance to the North Dakota pipeline project, visit or Red Warrior Camp on Facebook at

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