After months of protests from the North Dakota Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and thousands of supporters from around the country, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it will no longer approve the current plans of the controversial North Dakota Access Pipeline.
"Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it's clear that there's more work to do," said Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army's Assistant Secretary for Civil Works, in a statement. "The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing."
The announcement was seen as a monumental victory for the Native American tribe, which had been protesting the pipeline because they say it could potentially contaminate the drinking water on their land.
"We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing," Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement, according to ABC News. "The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision."
"Our prayers have been answered," National Congress of American Indians President Brian Cladoosby said in a statement, according to NPR. "This isn't over, but it is enormously good news. All tribal peoples have prayed from the beginning for a peaceful solution, and this puts us back on track."
But proponents of the pipeline blamed President Barack Obama's administration for unlawfully interfering and potentially harming future development and infrastructure projects.
“I hoped even a lawless president wouldn’t continue to ignore the rule of law. However, it was becoming increasingly clear he was punting this issue down the road,” said Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota. “Today’s unfortunate decision sends a very chilling signal to others who want to build infrastructure in this country.”
According to website Open Secrets, the top industry that donates to Cramer is the oil and gas industry, which has given $187,000 to his campaign fund.