Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II has asked the thousands of protestors camped out near the tribe’s land in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline to head home for the winter.
“We’re thankful for everyone who joined this cause and stood with us,” he said in an interview with Reuters. “The people who are supporting us … they can return home and enjoy this winter with their families. Same with law enforcement. I am asking them to go.”
It’s not clear whether the water protectors who were prepared to stay through the subzero winter will go. Though the Army Corps of Engineers denied a major permit December 4 that the developer, Energy Transfer Partners, needed to complete the 1,172-mile-long pipeline beneath the Missouri River, its opponents have been weary to fully embrace the win. Many have stated on social media that they weren’t leaving, especially given the incoming president’s power to reverse the decision when he enters office.
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team clarified in a press call yesterday (December 5), according to The Washington Post, that they’ll be reviewing the situation in full after inauguration. Archambault recognized that nothing would change on the pipeline until January 20 at the earliest, explaining his call for people to return home in the meantime.