The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced late Wednesday afternoon that it had granted an easement that will allow the Dakota Access pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe.
The announcement came one day after the Corps announced that intended to grant the disputed easement and on the same day that the Indigenous Environmental Network organized protests against the pipeline in cities across the country.
In a statement announcing the easement, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said the pipeline would have the latest in safety equipment and that it would make the country more secure by allowing more domestic oil production.
“Now, we all need to work together to make sure the project is completed safely and with as little disruption to the community as possible,” Hoeven wrote. “This has been a very difficult issue for everyone who lives and works in the area. We have called on the Corps, Department of Interior, Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to provide additional federal law enforcement resources to support state and local law enforcement. Also, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council has asked the protesters to leave the campsite on Corps land and Chairman Archambault has appealed to people to act peacefully.”
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said he hoped the administration of President Donald Trump would provide more resources for law enforcement.
“This has never been about the pipeline or the protests,” Kirchmeier wrote in a statement. “This has always been about the rule of law, protecting both residents and peaceful protestors from criminal elements that have significantly harmed people and property — all with very little assistance from the federal government in the last administration.”
In a news release announcing that the easement was granted, the Corps said it would monitor the pipeline project and ensure that the crossing complies with the conditions of the easement.