BISMARCK, N.D. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers won’t yet authorize construction of the $3.8 billion, four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline on federal land in southern North Dakota, it said Monday, along with reiterating its earlier request that the pipeline company voluntarily stop work on private land in the area.
The corps’ statement came in the wake of a federal appeals court ruling Sunday that allowed construction to resume on the pipeline within 20 miles of Lake Oahe. That ruling sparked a large protest Monday in North Dakota that led to the arrest of 27 people, including “Divergent” actress Shailene Woodley, who is known for her activism.
A joint statement from the Justice Department, Interior Department and the corps said it was not ready to allow pipeline work to continue on its land bordering and under Lake Oahe, a reservoir that the agency manages on the Missouri River and the water supply for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. It also called on the pipeline owner, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, to stop work in the area voluntarily. ETP didn’t respond to a request from the Associated Press for comment Sunday or Monday.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe believes the pipeline, which will cross through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, will destroy cultural artifacts and could pollute drinking water. The tribe had asked the appeals court to continue blocking work on the section of pipeline while it appeals a lower-court ruling from September that let work on the entire pipeline go forward.