Standing Rock’s Final Stand The main protest camps of Standing Rock have been cleared as of Thursday, February 23. Ten people were arrested following Wednesday’s deadline to evacuate the closed Oceti Sakowin camp. Most protesters chose to leave voluntarily after the deadline to leave the area expired. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department tweeted that the camp was cleared after 2 p.m. saying, “At 2:09 pm, Oceti Sakowin protest camp was completely cleared by law enforcement!” The controversial $3.7 billion, 1,172-mile pipeline has been plotted to stretch through four states including North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. It is meant to connect oil-rich areas of North Dakota to Illinois, where the crude oil could then be transported to refineries on the Gulf Coast or East Coast. The pipeline is so controversial because major tribe members are worried that the pipeline could affect their drinking water supply and put certain communities at risk of spill or contamination. On Wednesday, February 22, several protest tents were set on fire causing several injuries. A 17-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother were flown to Minneapolis medical center with severe burns and one person who was arrested claims to have a broken hip according to CNN. He was medically cleared and later arrested. North Dakota Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Tom Iverson says he knew the day the camp had to be shut down for environmental and safety reasons would come. According to CNN the order to leave said that warm temperatures have accelerated snowmelt and increased risk of flooding. Protesters in the flood plain have been asked to leave because they are risking personal danger by staying. At the height of the protests, the Oceti Sakowin main camp held more than 10,000 people. North Dakota officials have offered many ways to help clear the sight of protests by offering travel assistance, health assessments, hotel lodging and bus fare home. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who sits at the center of this controversy, sued the US Army Corps of Engineers last July and has recently asked protesters to leave for their own safety as well as for environmental reasons. According to CNN the Sioux Tribe has said that “the fight over the pipeline belongs in the court system.” Earthjustice is a nonprofit environmental law organization that filed a motion on behalf of Standing Rock. According to Earthjustice’s lead attorney for the tribe, Jan Hassleman, the organization is questioning the legality of the Trump administration’s decision to issue the permit that advanced the pipeline’s construction after former President Obama tried to block the pipeline’s construction. The order directed “the acting secretary of the Army to expeditiously review requests for approvals to construct and operate the Dakota Access Pipeline in compliance with the law.” But without an environmental impact statement, Standing Rock and its allies say the continuation of the pipeline should not go on. CNN said that the motion asks the judge to rule on several unresolved legal questions, including whether the US Army Corps’ actions violate the tribe’s treaty rights. The Obama administration had stated that “the Tribe’s treaty rights needed to be acknowledged and protected,” which led to the tribe demanding the proper environmental proceedings and impact statements to identify risks to the treaty rights which includes water supply and sacred places.