The Dakota Access Pipeline is again delayed again, but this time because the federal group tasked with evaluating the pipeline said the project needs more study.
The US Army Corps of Engineers announced today the contentious project needs more review due to months of protests and Capitol Hill debate.
The Dakota Access Pipeline would stretch underground just over 1,000 miles from North Dakota to Illinois and would be used to pump oil from the Bakken oil fields to an oil storage facility. The project has been widely decried as a threat to the environment and to Native American land, prompting thousands of activists to protest the pipeline at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.
"The Army has determined that additional discussion and analysis are warranted in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation's dispossessions of lands, the importance of Lake Oahe to the Tribe, our government-to-government relationship, and the statute governing easements through government property," the Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday afternoon.
The Army Corps of Engineers, who oversee federal construction projects, will meet with members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to discuss their concerns about the possibility of impacts from oil spills. While these discussions continue, construction on the project will be put on hold, according to the announcement.
The pipeline is largely seen as an alternative to the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project rejected by President Barack Obama for its potential environmental impacts. There were early reports that Obama would approve the Dakota Access Pipeline, but with the ticking clock and further study, it's less likely.
Meanwhile, President-Elect Donald Trump has included the Keystone pipeline as one of the projects he would push forward in his first 100 days, and has expressed the need for more domestic oil.