NASW thankful North Dakota pipeline project halted, but still concerned

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is thankful the Obama Administration has listened to the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and stopped construction of the Dakota Access pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

Members of the tribe and their supporters from around the nation had protested the drilling for months over concerns the pipeline could contaminate tribal water supplies and desecrate sacred land.

NASW submitted a formal letter of support to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that was acknowledged by the tribal External Affairs Office Steve Sitting Bear.

NASW is glad social justice has prevailed in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision. Far too often the environmental impact of such projects on people of color have been ignored in favor of economic interests.

Despite this victory NASW still has concerns. The Dakota Access Pipeline Project has resisted U.S. Army Corps of Engineer orders and has said it will go ahead with running the pipeline through tribal lands. So it is likely court battles will continue.

NASW and other organizations that support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe must also remain vigilant to ensure the incoming Trump Administration does not overturn the decision to stop the pipeline from running under Lake Oahe.

For more information contact NASW Social Justice and Human Rights Manager Mel Wilson, MSW, MBA at




  1. The Army and President Trump have now determined they will proceed with the pipeline. The EPT has investigated the concerns regarding potential danger to the Sioux Tribe’s water supply multiple times, and has ensured the safety of the pipeline.

    It is hoped the ensuing protests will be peaceful and without violence, without vandalism and without interference in business operations in the area.

  2. Blocking the completion of the Dakota access pipeline means that transportation of fuel and tar sands will continue by the more expensive and environmentally unfriendly railcar. This does however make Soros much happier.

  3. I am an LICSW who lives in ND about 40 miles from the protestors campsite. While I am pleased NASW supports protecting the water, I hope you are aware that many of the so-called protestors are actually rioters. They have burned bridges and tires (which makes me question their environmental ethics), have been violent toward police, threatened them and their families, caused major disruptions in Mandan and Bismarck which have no deciding power in what occurs with DAPL and blocked a major highway in our state for nearly six months. I have clients who had to drive three hours to get to the appointment when their typical travel time is less than an hour. The rioters have blocked roads in many areas at different times. Many of the rioters are not local Sioux members and many of the Sioux do not support the rioters behavior. Prior to the arrival of the “professional protestors” the Sioux people were truly protesting in a peaceful manner. Unfortunately the Sioux people are suffering as well as many in the area…especially our law enforcement who have been literally working around the clock for six months to protect both the protestors and the non-protestors. I would hope NASW does not support the violence.

  4. I am a supporter of the “Water Protectors,” and am concerned that the temporary halt becomes a permanent cessation of the pipeline construction on its current route. Please contact me with information on what I may do to support the Standing Rock Sioux in this matter. Sharon Sterling, LCSW.

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