Dakota Access Pipeline protests stretch to Savannah

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided to delay construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline for further "discussion and analysis" with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The nearly 1,200-mile oil pipeline would span from North Dakota to Illinois. The developer sought permission from the Army Corps to tunnel under the Missouri River in Lake Oahe, ND, in order to complete the project. The tribe, which relies on the lake and river for its drinking water, has objected, due to environmental concerns.

"Every living thing needs the water so it's not something that's strictly an indigenous issue. It is an entire planetary issue," said Laura Shadley, a protestor and tribe member.

Protests against that pipeline happened across the country on Tuesday, as well as right here in Savannah. More than 70 people gathered at Telfair Square, near the US Army Corps of Engineers' local office, Tuesday afternoon to rally against the pipeline. They believe it will put the water supply of the Native Americans in that area at risk, so they want the pipeline construction stopped - or relocated.

Event organizers say this is an important issue - even as far away as Savannah.

"We have Native Americans here. If we don't care for our brothers and sisters, believe me, Mother Nature is preparing a tremendous comedown for our country," said protest organizer, Margaret Betz, Savannah.

The US Army Corps of Engineers in Washington DC issued a statement to WTOC. It reads in part:

We value our long-standing relationships with Native American Tribes and have great respect for the cultures, traditions, and concerns of those Tribes.  We respect their right to peacefully protest and look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationships in the future.  We welcome all messages from concerned citizens voicing their opinion about the Dakota Access Pipeline.

For the latest information on the pipeline, click here. For additional information on the project, please click here.

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