On Tuesday, Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer instructed the Army Corps to clear the way for more construction on the Dakota Access pipeline. Speer sent an order to the Corps to grant an easement to build the section of the pipeline under Lake Oahe.
The easement request comes after Donald Trump signed an executive order to restart construction on the pipeline after President Obama halted it. The pipeline has created a bevy of controversy, with protesters trying to stop construction that ran through sacred burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which also sought to protect its drinking water. Senator John Hoeven said the pipeline will essentially be finished after Speer’s order, but that it will also help with the drinking water concerns:
“This will enable the company to complete the project, which can and will be built with the necessary safety features to protect the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and others downstream.”
However, Standing Rock Sioux issued a statement to claim that the Army Corps can’t issue the easement without consulting them or Congress first: “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will vigorously pursue legal action to ensure the environmental impact statement order issued late last year is followed so the pipeline process is legal, fair and accurate.”
There’s no timetable for when construction will begin, but as water protectors have shown, further construction won’t be a smooth path.