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Corps pipeline decision does little to ease tensions


It’s a major victory for Dakota Access Pipeline opponents — the construction has been halted — But for many foes of the project, including Central Oregonians, the fight is not over.

“From the beginning of this process, the pipeline and the oil company have said they’re going to go through regardless,” Chris Schafer, a Bend resident heading to Standing Rock, said Monday.

The Army Corps of Engineers announced Sunday it was denying an easement that would allow construction of the pipeline. But demonstrators are celebrating cautiously.

“I’m waiting to see if they continue drilling, and the people up there at the camps are waiting to see,” Schafer said. “They’re not going anywhere yet, until we know for sure.”

Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline, responded to the Corps’ move with a statement saying, it is “fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting.”

A spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump also said the administration supports the project and could reverse the decision once in office.

Another Bend resident, Josh Hart, is currently at Standing Rock.

He said Monday he doesn’t know what will happen when Trump takes office, and “that bridge will be crossed when we get there. But nobody is leaving this Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and they are all prepared to weather the winter.”

The future remains uncertain, as both sides move forward.

“There will be a strategy,” Hart said. “And it will be prayerful and peaceful, whatever action is taken.”

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