Eight people were arrested as several hundred protesters gathered in downtown Montpelier Monday to voice their continued opposition to a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota.
The Standing Rock Sioux have been joined by protesters from around the country to fight a pipeline that they say could contaminate water supplies and desecrate sacred grounds.
Over the weekend, the U.S. Corps of Engineers said it would consider alternative routes for the pipeline, designed to transport half a million barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois.
The Obama Administration has called for a comprehensive environmental review of the project.
Catherine Cadden was the lead spokesperson at the rally. She says the decision is definitely a short term victory for opponents of the pipeline.
“Today is an important day. It’s an important day of victory. We won one fight within the greater fight. The Army Corps of Engineers did deny the easement but there is much more to do,” she said.
The protest was held outside the TD Bank branch in Montpelier to protest the institution's financial investment in the pipeline project. Montpelier Police Chief Anthony Facos says eight protesters were arrested for refusing to leave the bank’s main lobby and were later released.
Beverly Little Thunder is a Standing Rock Tribal member and a resident of Vermont. She urged the crowd to continue to protest the operations of TD Bank. She said it’s inappropriate for the state of Vermont to deposit short term funds in this bank.
“Our money going into these banks helps support them, helps them give more money to people who aren’t thinking about the environment, who aren’t thinking about the future, who aren’t thinking about the water that our children and grandchildren are going to drink.”
Opponents of the pipeline say they're also very concerned that the Army Corps’ decision to deny the easement for the project could be overturned once President-elect Donald Trump comes into office.