After months of uncertainty, a North Dakota-based Native American tribe is celebrating after a Friday decision by the Obama administration to suspend work on a controversial pipeline project.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe had been protesting the construction of an oil pipeline running through their reservations over the past few months, arguing that it would threaten burial sites and the Sioux tribe’s water supply.
Despite violent protests, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe had the support of about 200 other tribes. The Dakota Access Pipeline was said to be over 1,100 miles in length, spanning from North Dakota to Illinois.
The situation had been rather confusing as of late with a federal judge saying earlier on Friday that work could be continued on the pipeline. Just minutes after this decision, the Department of Justice and Interior, along with the Army, announced that work on the site should be put on hold.
Of course, oil interests were not happy. The North Dakota Petroleum Council called it “yet another flagrant overreach by federal government and this administration” that will “only allow this rancor to continue.”
The opposition to the pipeline also included environmental groups, some of whom drew headlines by tearing down fences and confronting security guards surrounding the $3.8 billion project.
Although protests started in April, they became more fervent earlier this month. In one incident on September 3, 30 tribe members were said to have been pepper sprayed and six bitten by dogs, while four guards and two dogs were injured.