The Department of the Army is now accepting public comments leading up to their environmental impact statement in connection with Dakota Access' request for them to grant an easement for the pipeline to cross North Dakota's Lake Oahe.
Correction: A previous version of this post's headline stated that the easement for the pipeline has been granted.
The tribe issued a statement Wednesday saying the study is "yet another small victory on the path to justice". While no official announcement as come from the Army and the easement has not been officially released, Senator John Hoeven released a statement on Tuesday indicating that a decision has been made.
The tribe also stated that, although the easement is imminent, the Army Corps of Engineers still needed to undertake several steps before actual construction work can begin, including granting the easement and notifying Congress.
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The Standing Rock tribe, supported by indigenous activists and environmental groups across the globe, has long argued that the $3.8 billion project threatens sacred lands and the regional water supply. That process could delay the project for years. However, President Trump's executive order, signed last week, instructs the Army Corps to "approve in an expedited manner" construction of the pipeline and consider suspending the EIS.
Hoeven said he spoke on Tuesday with Vice President Mike Pence and Speer about the easement. In fact, when the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the Army Corps of Engineers over this project, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia decided that the tribe "has not shown it will suffer injury" as a result of the pipeline's construction and denied their claim.
"The corps and the Army are continuing to make decisions under the order", attorney Matthew Marinelli told Judge James Boasberg during a hearing on Monday, according to the Hill.
But Hasselman added: "I'd say it's a near certainty that they go ahead". The pipeline has been the target of months of protests.
Dump trucks and work crews moved into the campsite Monday to clean up the abandoned cars, structures, trash and waste left by thousands of protesters who converged on the region to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline over concerns it would contaminate drinking water relied upon by American Indians.