By: Savin Mattozzi ~Staff Writer~
The Army Corps of Engineers announced Sunday night that it will not grant easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue construction. The announcement comes after the arrival of several hundred veterans vowing to act as “human shields” for the activists and Native Americans.
Celebratory rallies were held across the nation on Monday following the announcement. Xavier hosted members of the American Indian Movement at its weekly Community Night that day. Members discussed their experiences at the pipeline and what students could do to make an impact.
Native Americans and activists have been clashing with local and federal law enforcement as well as private security, since early spring to prevent the passage of the $3.8 billion pipeline.
Activists assert that the pipeline has the potential to pollute water in the surrounding areas.
Energy Transfer CEO Kelcy Warren contends that the pipeline is being built with special attention to the environment.
Native Americans and activists remained cautious about the news and expressed concern that the decision could be overturned by a Donald Trump presidency.
“It’s hard to get excited. At the end of the day, it might mean nothing,” Stevey Seymour, a member of the Colville Tribes told NBC.
In an interview with NBC in November, Warren asserted that he was “100 percent sure that the pipeline will be approved by a Trump administration.”
Trump’s spokesman Bryan Lanza said in a memo last week that Trump’s support of the pipeline “has nothing to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans.”
In a statement released on Sunday, the Energy Transfer asserted that it “expected to complete construction of the pipeline… nothing this administration has done to today changes that in any way.”
Trump has drawn criticism and claims of potential conflict of interest when it was discovered that he has investments in Energy Transfer Partners and Phillips 66, the builders of the pipeline.
However, Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks claims that Trump sold his Energy Transfer stocks but provided no details or evidence, according to The New York Times.