Last night (February 8), the Army Corps of Engineers granted Energy Transfer Partners the final easement the company needed to complete its $3.78 billion project, the Dakota Access Pipeline. This came as no surprise as the federal department filed paperwork notifying Congress the day before that it would do so.
“We began drilling once we obtained the easement,” a spokesperson for the company told NBC News last night. Indeed, drone footage posted to Facebook seems to confirm this:
Former Secretary of the Interior Department Sally Jewell responded to the news, her first public response to any of the Trump administration’s actions:
— Sally Jewell (@sallyjewell) February 8, 2017
The Corps’ statement indicates that it is “working with the Tribes,” though not in decision-making, but to “restore the land to its pre-protest state.” Oceti Sakowin Camp has been in a cleanup state since the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman ordered the camp to clear out for the spring flooding.
While the majority of the water protectors who stayed at the camps—numbers that swelled into the thousands during its height—have left the camps, many remain at the Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin camps.
The Sacred Stone Camp continues to welcome—with caution—all who want to return: “Regardless, water protectors remain on the ground at the Sacred Stone Camp, determined to stop the black snake, and we support them. If you [come], expect police violence, mass arrests, felony charges for just about anything, abuse while in custody, targeted persecution and racial profiling while driving around the area, etc,” reads the Sacred Stone Camp website.
Water protectors haven’t indicated whether they have begun any direct actions in opposition to the construction, but they did call on their supporters and allies to join them yesterday in a day of solidarity and emergency actions. Cities around the country joined:
— Bay Resistance (@SFBayResistance) February 9, 2017
— Moira KB (@moira_kb) February 8, 2017
New York City