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Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

People protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline demonstrate at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota on Thanksgiving Day 2016. Cassi Alexandra for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cassi Alexandra for NPR

The Dakota Access Pipeline’s route takes it over four states and nearly 1,200 miles, from the Bakken oil fields in northwestern North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and down to a terminal in Illinois. But one Missouri River crossing just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota has become the focal point of a fight over how the pipeline’s route was analyzed and approved by the federal government. In legal challenges and public demonstrations, members of the tribe and their supporters have argued that they were not adequately consulted about the route. Running the pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir called Lake Oahe, member say, would jeopardize the primary water source for the reservation, and construction would further damage sacred sites near the lake, violating tribal treaty rights.

After more than six months of legal wrangling, the Trump administration reversed a decision by the Obama administration and announced it is allowing the pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, to drill under Lake Oahe and finish building the last section of the pipeline. Here are some key moments in the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline.

This story has developed over many months, and this timeline captures only a portion of the newsworthy developments that have occurred, focusing largely on legal and policy decisions.

Dec. 2015 – Jan. 2016

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Omaha District publishes a draft[1] of its plan to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline route under the Missouri River. The Corps opened the plan up to public comments, including comments on environmental and cultural impacts.

April 2016

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office determines that no historic properties will be affected by the pipeline crossing.

A letter[2] from the Corps’ senior field archaeologist for the project lists five “recorded cultural sites” within the area that could be affected by construction of the pipeline, and more than 30 others that are thought to be within a 1-mile radius.

Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

The letter supports the determination that “no historic properties will be subject to effect,” by the crossing under Lake Oahe, and notes that the Standing Rock Sioux has requested further archaeological survey of the area.

June 2016

The U.S. government’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation disputes the Corps determination in a letter[3] to the assistant secretary of the Army, citing the need for cooperation with tribal leaders to identify areas of concern to them. In the letter, the advisory council director asks the Corps to justify its decision.

July 25, 2016

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves[4] the portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline route that crosses the Missouri River at the Lake Oahe reservoir. The crossing is on Army Corps-controlled land. The 1,261-page report announcing the approval said of the public review process: “No significant comments remain unresolved.”

The Omaha district commander, Col. John Henderson, wrote, “I have evaluated the anticipated environmental, economic, cultural, and social effects, and any cumulative effects” of the river crossing and found it is “not injurious to the public interest.”

Aug. 4, 2016

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sues[5] the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The tribe alleged that the Corps had failed to adequately consult tribe members before approving the pipeline, and had violated the National Historic Preservation Act when it “effectively authorized construction of the vast majority of the pipeline in and around federally regulated waters without any provision to ensure against destruction to culturally important sites.”

“There is a high risk that culturally and historically significant sites will be damaged or destroyed in the absence of an injunction,” the tribe wrote in its court filing.

Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

In August 2016, demonstrators rally near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. That same month, a subsidiary of the company building the pipeline, accused protesters of halting construction activities. James MacPherson/AP hide caption

toggle caption James MacPherson/AP

Aug. 15, 2016

Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of the pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners, countersues[6] leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux, alleging that protesters near the Lake Oahe river crossing have “halted construction activities” that had been scheduled to begin five days earlier.

“On Wednesday August 10, 2016, representatives of Dakota Access arrived at the Construction Site and were met with resistance by approximately 15 to 30 individuals … who were protesting the construction of the Pipeline. By the afternoon, the number of individuals protesting at the Construction Site increased to approximately 100,” the company wrote.

Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

Native American protesters and their supporters approach construction crews during a demonstration against work being done for the Dakota Access Pipeline near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Sept. 3, 2016. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Sept. 3, 2016

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe issues a statement saying Energy Transfer Partners demolished an area that contained “significant Native artifacts and sacred sites” when construction crews bulldozed a two-mile-long area near the Lake Oahe river crossing and north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

“I surveyed this land and we confirmed multiple graves and specific prayer sites,” the tribe’s historic preservation officer, Tim Mentz, said in the statement. “Portions, and possibly complete sites, have been taken out entirely.”

Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

And protests in North Dakota turned violent[7] when private security guards clashed with some protesters. As reporter Amy Sisk of the public radio collaboration Inside Energy said in an NPR Live discussion on Facebook[8], “What happened is some protesters who’ve been camped out near this construction area broke through a fence to access this construction site and were met with some private security guards and guard dogs hired by the pipeline company. … Law enforcement says the protesters attacked the security guards and the dogs.” She added that[9] demonstrators said the dogs “actually bit some of the protesters.”

Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

Demonstrators march from an encampment on the banks of the Cannonball River to a nearby construction site for the Dakota Access Pipeline to perform a daily prayer ceremony in September 2016. Andrew Cullen hide caption

toggle caption Andrew Cullen Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

Protesters (left) wade into the Cannonball River as others (right) pray and hold flags while marching across a wooden pedestrian bridge across a creek north of the main protest camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Emily Kask for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Kask for NPR

Sept. 9, 2016

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg denies[12] the Standing Rock Sioux’s request to stop construction. In his decision[13], he writes that “the United States’ relationship with the Indian tribes has been contentious and tragic.” But he went on to say that the Army Corps “likely complied” with its obligation to consult the tribe, adding that the tribe “has not shown it will suffer injury that would be prevented by any injunction the Court could issue.”

But the Justice Department, the Department of the Army and the Interior Department announced that construction[14] on Army Corps-controlled land near the Lake Oahe river crossing should not proceed and asked that the pipeline company honor the request pending further evaluation and consultation with the tribe.

Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

Oct. 12, 2016

Energy Transfer Partners proceeds with construction despite the request by the three federal agencies that it voluntarily halt activities near the Lake Oahe river crossing. The Morton County Sheriff arrests 27 people[15] demonstrating at the site.

Oct. 24, 2016

The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, Dave Archambault II, sends a letter[16] to then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting an investigation “to protect civil rights” of protesters, citing the “overall militarization of law enforcement response.”

Nov. 2, 2016

Then-President Obama says in an interview[17] that the U.S Army Corps of Engineers is “examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline in a way. So we’re going to let it play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of the first Americans.”

Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

Military veterans protesting the pipeline stand opposite police guarding a bridge at the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Dec. 1, 2016. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Scott Olson/Getty Images Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

Oceti Sakowin Camp occupied by protesters can be seen in the distance on Dec. 4, 2016. Cassi Alexandra for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cassi Alexandra for NPR

Dec. 4, 2016

The Army Corps halts construction[22] of the Dakota Access Pipeline and says it intends to issue an environmental impact statement with “full public input and analysis” before it approves the river crossing at Lake Oahe.

Jan. 18, 2017

The Army publishes a notice[23] in the Federal Register saying it is preparing the environmental impact statement and soliciting public comments until Feb. 20, 2017, on whether to grant the easement necessary to cross under Lake Oahe.

Jan. 24, 2017

Key Moments In The Dakota Access Pipeline Fight

President Trump signs an executive memorandum instructing the Army to expedite the review and approval process[24] for the unbuilt section of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Jan. 31, 2017

The Army says[25] it has been directed to expedite the review process for the easement request, and that “the Assistant Secretary for the Army Civil Works will make a decision on the pipeline once a full review and analysis is completed in accordance with the [president’s] directive.”

Feb. 7, 2017

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grants the easement[26] allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe, north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Corps also issues a memo[27] saying it intends to terminate the public comment period and rescind its notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact assessment. The pipeline company immediately began construction[28] near the crossing under Lake Oahe.

Feb. 9, 2017

The Cheyenne River Sioux tribe asks the U.S. District Court to issue a restraining order[29] to block construction of the final piece of the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe officially joins the request[30] a few days later. Both reservations get their water downstream of the Lake Oahe crossing.

Feb. 13, 2017

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg denies the tribes’ joint motion, noting that oil is not yet flowing under the reservoir. In his decision, Boasberg requires Dakota Access LLC to update the court on Feb. 21, “and every Monday thereafter as to the likely date that oil will begin to flow beneath Lake Oahe.”

Feb. 15, 2017

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Cheyenne River Sioux tribe request a summary judgement[31] against both the Army Corps and Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of the pipeline company.

The plaintiffs cite tribal land rights under the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty[32] and argue that the Corps decision to grant the easement was “arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law.”

Feb. 17, 2017

The Corps formally terminates its environmental review in a notice published[33] in the Federal Register.

Feb. 22, 2017

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum sets this date as a deadline[34] for the remaining protesters to leave an encampment on federal land near the area of the pipeline company’s construction site.


  1. ^ publishes a draft (
  2. ^ A letter (
  3. ^ in a letter (
  4. ^ approves (
  5. ^ sues (
  6. ^ countersues (
  7. ^ protests in North Dakota turned violent (
  8. ^ said in an NPR Live discussion on Facebook (
  9. ^ She added that (
  10. ^ temporarily halts construction (
  11. ^ activates the North Dakota National Guard (
  12. ^ denies (
  13. ^ decision (
  14. ^ announced that construction (
  15. ^ arrests 27 people (
  16. ^ sends a letter (
  17. ^ says in an interview (
  18. ^ uses tear gas and sprays water (
  19. ^ tells protesters (
  20. ^ follows up (
  21. ^ Nonetheless, many people stay (
  22. ^ halts construction (
  23. ^ publishes a notice (
  24. ^ expedite the review and approval process (
  25. ^ Army says (
  26. ^ grants the easement (
  27. ^ issues a memo (
  28. ^ began construction (
  29. ^ asks the U.S. District Court to issue a restraining order (
  30. ^ the request (
  31. ^ request a summary judgement (
  32. ^ 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty (
  33. ^ notice published (
  34. ^ as a deadline (

Spectacles abound in Missouri’s loss to Kentucky

COLUMBIA Red Panda outperformed two NBA lottery draft picks Tuesday night. The famous acrobat, who has entertained college and NBA crowds for over 20 years, exceeded the hype during her halftime performance at Mizzou Arena. Her act consists of pedaling a 7-foot unicycle with one leg and flipping bowls onto her head with the other. Meanwhile Kentucky freshmen guards Malik Monk and De Aaron Fox, widely projected as top-10 NBA draft picks this year, produced relatively quiet nights of 11 and 13 points respectively.

Missouri s own famous student-athlete, Olympic wrestling bronze medalist[1] J den Cox, assisted Red Panda in her act. As the acrobat pedaled, Cox tossed the bowls at her. She caught the first bowl on her foot, and easily flipped it on her head. Still balancing the bowl on her head, Cox upped the ante to two bowls. Red Panda repeated the amazing feat with a smile on her face. This pattern continued, the number of bowls increasing by one each time. By the time she had five bowls on her free foot, the other still pedaling away, the crowd was in a frenzy. After successfully flipping those five on her head, making 15 total bowls teetering on her skull while her torso balanced on the 7-foot unicycle, the crowd erupted. The Missouri men s basketball team lost 72-62 to No. 11 Kentucky on Tuesday. While the game itself provided plenty of thrills, the extracurricular activities stole the show.

Missouri fan John Bozesky came all the way from St. Louis to watch the game. He was not disappointed with the spectacle.

It was unreal, she just kept going, Bozesky said. Bozesky s father even said this was the only time he has seen the whole crowd invested in the halftime show. In case Red Panda wasn t enough entertainment at halftime, a fan named Travis made a half-court shot as part of a competition. The Steph Curry-esque basket resulted in Travis receiving $5,000 from Central Bank of Boone County. Once again, the crowd erupted. The spectacles outside the game didn t all revolve around marvels of athleticism. John Sundvold, who played for Missouri from 1979 to 1983 and has his jersey retired, was also honored at halftime. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey presented Sundvold with a plaque in front of the raucous crowd. Sankey then took a massive picture with all 80-plus of Missouri s academic honor roll students. Missouri senior diver Lauren Reedy was recognized, and the Missouri volleyball team was given an ovation during a break in play in the first half.

The grand finale came just before the final buzzer. A fan wearing a backwards visor and black polo ran across the court while Kentucky was running out the clock. A security guard tried to grab him, but the renegade escaped the grasp and booked it to the tunnel.

Kentucky s legendary coach John Calipari said he enjoyed the rabid atmosphere at Mizzou Arena.

If I walk in the building, and they (the opposing crowd) isn t cussing me, booing me, I will retire, Calipari said. If I walk on the opponent s court and they re cheering me, either you should fire me or I should be retired.

Supervising editor is Jonathan McKay.

Before you go …

Do you like what you see? The Columbia Missourian produces in-depth journalism across many platforms while coaching talented MU students. Independent reporting isn t cheap to produce, even if it s free to consume. Every dollar you donate is a gift for life because we touch only the interest earned. We hope you ll help: Donate[2] or subscribe[3].


  1. ^ Olympic wrestling bronze medalist (
  2. ^ Donate (
  3. ^ subscribe (

Cats avoid disaster, grind out win at Missouri

After a slow, lack luster start, No. 11 UK was able to get back into a groove as they beat the Missouri Tigers 72-62 in Columbia. A sloppy first half kept the game close until the Cats were able to pull away toward the end of the game. Being up just one at the half, the Cats allowed Mizzou to stay within striking distance as UK struggled offensively taking care of the ball with 9 turnovers in the first half. Scoring only 31 points in the first half, UK was led by Isaiah Briscoe and Malik Monk as they would both have seven points at halftime, which was almost half of the team s first half points. The Tigers were led the entire game by their scrappy sophomore guard Terrence Phillips as he would score 22 points and shoot 4-6 from three point range. The 22-point outing was a career high for Phillips.

The player of the game for the Cats was Bam Adebayo as he scored 22 points and pulled down a game, and career-high 15 rebounds. Adebayo showed his force down low as he dominated the game on both sides of the ball. This was his fourth double-double of the season, and his first 20 and 10 game while at UK. Coming off of a good game against Georgia, De Aaron Fox had another stellar performance down the stretch as he would score 13 points in the game to go along with five rebounds and a team high four assists. Although he played well, Fox seemed to suffer a knee contusion with 7:42 left in the game but he was able to return. That will be something to keep an eye on as the Cats prepare for the next game on Saturday. Foul trouble seemed to get hold of both teams as each team would have players foul out. For the Cats tonight it was Isaiah Briscoe who would foul out after scoring 9 points and grabbing five rebounds. Despite his play Briscoe seemed to struggle with his ball security as he accounted for six total turnovers on the game.

With the win over Missouri, the Cats’ record improves to 23-5 on the year and 13-2 in SEC play.

UK has won its last five games but will need to stay on track as it prepares to face the No. 13 Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on Saturday. Florida is the last team to beat UK this season, and this game will be for the top spot in the SEC as both teams are tied for the best record in the conference. The Cats will look to redeem themselves in front of Big Blue Nation as they prepare to bring the regular season to a close.

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