In December, as authorities armed themselves with water cannons and rubber bullets, thousands of protestors camped near the site of a proposed oil conduit celebrated a historic victory: Federal authorities had halted construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pulled the plug on the $3.8 billion project following an extended campaign by the Standing Rock Sioux that garnered international media attention and drew thousands of activists to a small region of North Dakota.
“My hands go up to all the water protectors who have stood up to protect tribal treaty rights and to protect Mother Earth,” said Brian Cladoosby, president of the National Congress of American Indians, in a statement at the time. “Thank you for Standing For Standing Rock.”
However, just a few weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump signed an executive order in January to reopen the project. In February, the Army approved the pipeline’s construction and it expects to ship its first barrels of oil on Thursday.
Now, the protest camps are gone and, as environmentalists feared, the Dakota Access Pipeline has already leaked. Take a look at some images from the #NoDAPL protests as the pipeline goes into full operation.