Both U.S. Senators from New Mexico were quick to react to the Sunday news that President Obama’s administration would not approve an easement that would allow the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline to move forward in its current proposed route.
The Standing Rock Sioux Nation said while the proposed path did not cross their land, it would have brought the oil pipeline too close to the tribe’s lone source of water.
The fight over placement of the pipeline led to members of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and other supporters holding high-profile protests for months.
Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall praised the decision, which requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider alternate routes for this portion of the pipeline.
“President Obama has just risen to the challenge and listened to all of our voices to reject the current route of the Dakota Access pipeline,” Heinrich said in a statement Sunday. “I commend our president for doing the right thing and thank the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the protectors standing in solidarity with them for working so fearlessly for this outcome.”
Udall said further discussions between the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and the Army Corps of Engineers would be welcome.
“Over the last seven months, thousands of people, including Indian nations from New Mexico and across North America, have demonstrated their deep concern about the lack of consultation by the federal government and the potential environmental hazard this pipeline poses for the water,” Udall wrote. “They have stood up for their rights despite harsh weather and the use of inexcusable violence against them.”
Heinrich and Udall had previously denounced the violence used against protesters, and each called on Obama to move the route of the pipeline further from the Standing Rock Sioux Nation land.