While members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association were chowing down yesterday afternoon, a fine political victory was being celebrated by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their supporters over the feds having halted construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it has denied final permission for the $3.8 billion project to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, and that alternative routes are being explored pending an environmental impact study.
Unfortunate bottom line: The pipeline will be delayed for months and perhaps a year or so, but the real-life manifestation of a grotesque character played by Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live said last week that he supports finishing the 1,170-mile pipeline, which stretches from the Canadian border to Illinois and is nearly finished.
N.Y. Times reporters Jack Healy and Nicholas Fandos have noted that “the Trump administration could ultimately decide to allow the original, contested route…[Donald] Trump owns stock in the company building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, but he has said that his support has nothing to do with his investment. Opposition to the oil pipeline had been linked to concerns about water contamination, environmental destruction and damage to ancestral sites.