Indigenous Tribes, Congressional Leaders, and Allies Demand Biden Administration Shuts Down the Dakota Access Pipeline


Megan Wittman,

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, leaders of the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes and Democratic Leaders hosted a press conference in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), calling on the Biden Administration to shut down the pipeline. The pipeline spans from North Dakota to Illinois, passing through the states of South Dakota and Iowa, and tribal nations of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes.

The Dakota Access Pipeline was built without adequate Tribal consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes, trouncing on treaty rights and burdening tribes and nearby communities with enormous risk. At nearly 1,200 miles, DAPL is one of the largest oil pipelines in the country, 1.1 million barrels of oil per day pass through the pipeline and threaten access to clean drinking water for millions of people.

In 2021, the D.C. Circuit Court affirmed the Army Corps of Engineers violated the law in failing to prepare an environmental impact statement for DAPL and that there is no valid pipeline easement across Corps land. The Army Corps has now released the court mandated EIS and it is open for public comment until December 13.

“The Dakota Access Pipeline is not just an environmental issue, but an issue of justice impacting the Tribal lands and waters where the consequences will fall the heaviest,” said U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. “An oil spill could devastate Tribal communities, their way of life, and the surrounding ecosystem. This is an unacceptable risk. It’s seven years past time to shut this pipeline down.”

“All we ask for is the truth. The truth is DAPL is unsafe and violates the Fort Laramie Treaty. But the Corps of Engineers decided to whitewash the impacts of the pipeline. So here we are, fighting for the truth,” said Standing Rock Chairwoman Janet Alkire.

“The United States continues to fail us as they have over and over again. Operating an illegal dirty contaminated pipeline which trespasses through Sioux Nation lands all without a permit in violation of their own law,” said Chairman Ryman LeBeau, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

“We, as the future, need clean drinking water. We continue to stand up for Fort Laramie Treaty Rights that is designed to protect our livelihood as long as rivers flow and the grass is green. Shutting Down DAPL is just one step in making amends for the warfare tactics enacted by the governing systems that have made us marginalized on our homelands,” said Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Youth and Grassroots.

“President Biden has made important progress on  climate, and we need him to build on that action by shutting down the Dakota Access Pipeline. This dangerous pipeline threatens our climate, the health and safety of millions, and Tribal sovereignty. This pipeline has been allowed to operate illegally for far too long. It’s past time the Biden Administration shut Dakota Access down,” said Cathy Collentine, Director of the Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign at Sierra Club.

“Shutting down the Dakota Access Pipeline is long past due. This dirty and dangerous pipeline has been allowed to operate for years without a valid easement or a comprehensive environmental impact statement at the expense of the climate and risks to clean drinking water, simultaneously trampling on the tribal treaty rights and sovereignty of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Dirty energy should never be above the law, and we urge the Biden Administration to cease its operation at last,” said Amy Mall, senior advocate at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit