Dakota Access Pipeline protesters asked to leave by Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman

The federal government and the Governor of North Dakota have already asked Dakota Accesss Pipeline protesters to leave their makeshift camp, now the tribal chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux has joined them. Dave Archambault told Reuters Monday, “We’re thankful for everyone who joined this cause and stood with us.” He added, “The people who are supporting us … they can return home and enjoy this winter with their families. Same with law enforcement. I am asking them to go.”

Archambault’s decision came as a potentially deadly blizzard forced most of the camp’s inhabitants to flee to a nearby casino. From the Washington Post:

Every room in the Prairie Knights casino was booked for several days, leaving many activists to lay down bedding in the hallways and stairwells. The main event hall was converted into an emergency shelter, with sleeping bags and cots lining the concrete floor and a group of medics triaging patients…

Mimi Davis, a sixth grade teacher from Chicago, drove to camp with two friends in a rented Ford Escape on Friday, saying she was drawn by the sense of unity with the anti-pipeline movement. The trio slept comfortably their first two nights, but on Monday their tent’s tarp blew off and Davis took a bad fall in the snow, soaking her boots and pants.

She spent the night “severely chilled,” she said, then started to panic when she couldn’t warm up. Her friends found her a ride to the casino in the morning, she said, and she was wrapped in an emergency blanket in the medical area. Medics took turns warming her as she lay on a cot, she said.

“I just got uncontrollably cold and couldn’t stop shivering,” said Davis, 45. “It was just brutal.”

Protesters were celebrating Sunday when the Army Corps of Engineers announced they would not grant an easement needed to complete the pipeline. Today, NBC reports the Army Corps of Engineers recommended the easement be granted but were overruled by an Obama political appointee:

A civilian leader in the Army made the decision to deny an easement to the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline despite Army Corps of Engineers recommendations that it be granted, according to officials and a document.

But because of the pipeline’s size — 30 inches in diameter — its approval went to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, an official said…

When asked why Assistant Secretary Darcy decided to go against the Corps of Engineers recommendation, Kelley her spokesperson said, “the Army decided that the totality of circumstances call for additional analysis, a more robust consideration of alternatives, and additional public information.”

Darcy was appointed to her position by President Obama in 2009. Here’s a video showing the conditions: