People across the country took part in protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline on Tuesday. The event billed as a National Day Of Action included events in Rapid City, Sioux Falls as well as major cities across the country.
Demonstrators are calling for a halt to construction of the pipeline. The Army Corps of Engineers says it needs more time to study the project before it permits the compay to cross under the Missouri River.
Pipeline proponents are hopeful that president elect Donald Trump will push to see the project completed.
A group of about 80 demonstrators gather at the corner of 5th and Saint Anne in Rapid City.
The demonstrators say they stand in solidarity with self-described water protectors camping out near the Standing Rock reservation. The group met outside of the Army Corps of Engineers office in Rapid City to present corps officials with a letter demanding a halt to the pipeline.
In the afternoon, demonstrators moved to march around the Wells Fargo building in downtown Rapid City. Environmentalists are singling out banks like Wells Fargo, which they say are funding the pipeline..
Laree Pourier is an Oglala Lakota who lives in Rapid City. She helped organize the day of action. She says demonstrators want customers who oppose the pipeline to close their accounts with Wells Fargo.
“The Dakota Access Pipeline is honestly only one instance of global indigenous resistance to continued colonization and capitalism that targets indigenous communities specifically," Pourier says. "I think it’s amazing that it’s got this kind of global attention. Our people here have been resisting this for a long time. My people—the Lakota people specifically—their livelihood has always depended on the Missouri River. So, this is intrinsically important to us.”
On Monday the Army Corps of Engineers released a statement saying they needed more time to study the land and gather input from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe before allowing the pipeline to cross under a Missouri River reservoir.
Craig Stevens is with the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now coalition, which is in support of the Dakota Access Pipeline. He calls the Corp’s request for delay a political decision. Stevens says President Barack Obama has a duty to approve the final easement.
“This easement has been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers," Stevens says. "The Army Corps of Engineers fully did it’s job over the course of the last 800 days. Fifty-five tribes were consulted over 400 times over the course of the last two and a half years and they did everything right. That’s exactly what the federal court has said and that’s what the full an thorough review of the work said. So, the president really has the obligation to write this easement.”
Stevens says he’s hopeful about the outcome of the pipeline with President-elect Donald Trump set to take office.