Dakota Access Pipeline: What happens next?

Updated 7:45 AM EST, Tue December 6, 2016
CANNON BALL, ND - DECEMBER 05:  Military veterans are briefed on cold-weather safety issues and their overall role at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 5, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Over the weekend a large group of military veterans joined native Americans and activists from around the country who have been at the camp for several months trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Yesterday the US Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not grant an easement for the pipeline to cross under a lake on the Sioux Tribes Standing Rock reservation. The proposed 1,172-mile-long pipeline would transport oil from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota, Iowa and into Illinois.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
CANNON BALL, ND - DECEMBER 05: Military veterans are briefed on cold-weather safety issues and their overall role at Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 5, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Over the weekend a large group of military veterans joined native Americans and activists from around the country who have been at the camp for several months trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Yesterday the US Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not grant an easement for the pipeline to cross under a lake on the Sioux Tribes Standing Rock reservation. The proposed 1,172-mile-long pipeline would transport oil from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota, Iowa and into Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:55
Protesters stand strong despite blizzard
dakota access pipeline protesters remain jpm orig_00010112.jpg
dakota access pipeline protesters remain jpm orig_00010112.jpg
Now playing
02:32
Dakota pipeline protesters' last stand
Tires burn as armed soldiers and law enforcement officers stand in formation on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, to force Dakota Access pipeline protesters off private land where they had camped to block construction. The pipeline is to carry oil from western North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to an existing pipeline in Patoka, Ill. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)
Mike McCleary/AP
Tires burn as armed soldiers and law enforcement officers stand in formation on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, to force Dakota Access pipeline protesters off private land where they had camped to block construction. The pipeline is to carry oil from western North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to an existing pipeline in Patoka, Ill. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)
Now playing
01:21
What's up with the Dakota Access Pipeline?
US Navy veteran John Gutekanst from Athens, Ohio, waves an American flag as an activist approaches the police barricade with his hands up on a bridge near Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
Native Americans and activists from around the country gather at the camp trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  / AFP / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
US Navy veteran John Gutekanst from Athens, Ohio, waves an American flag as an activist approaches the police barricade with his hands up on a bridge near Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Native Americans and activists from around the country gather at the camp trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:20
Police have their say about Standing Rock
Now playing
01:09
Veterans stand in solidarity in Standing Rock
Now playing
02:37
Dakota Access Pipeline fight isn't over
Now playing
03:11
Victory for Native Americans in pipeline fight
A crowd celebrates at the Oceti Sakowin camp after it was announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers won't grant easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
David Goldman/AP
A crowd celebrates at the Oceti Sakowin camp after it was announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers won't grant easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Now playing
00:55
Drumming, chanting over Dakota pipeline halt
dakota pipeline Tribe Announcement sot _00000000.jpg
dakota pipeline Tribe Announcement sot _00000000.jpg
Now playing
00:46
Tribe chief on Dakota pipeline: 'We made it'
CANNON BALL, ND - NOVEMBER 30:  Snow covers Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on November 30, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Native Americans and activists from around the country have been gathering at the camp for several months trying to halt the construction of the  Dakota Access Pipeline. The proposed 1,172 mile long pipeline would transport oil from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota, Iowa and into Illinois.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images
CANNON BALL, ND - NOVEMBER 30: Snow covers Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on November 30, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Native Americans and activists from around the country have been gathering at the camp for several months trying to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The proposed 1,172 mile long pipeline would transport oil from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota, Iowa and into Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:29
Officials: Pipeline will be re-routed
exp Amy Goodman on standing rock_00011414.jpg
exp Amy Goodman on standing rock_00011414.jpg
Now playing
04:39
Amy Goodman describes covering Standing Rock
Now playing
01:26
Pipeline protesters vow to remain
Now playing
02:58
Pipeline protesters defy evacuation order
Now playing
02:16
Protester: 'It will be a battle'
Police unleashed a water cannon on people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
Kit Karzen
Police unleashed a water cannon on people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
Now playing
03:00
Protesters fighting pipeline are staying put
Now playing
00:33
Meet Mni Wiconi, or Water is Life

Story highlights

Protesters thrilled with Army Corps announcement, worried that Trump administration may change course

Dakota Access Pipeline backers: We fully expect to build pipeline without rerouting

(CNN) —  

The fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline – the $3.8 billion project expected to move 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day across the Midwest – lasted long enough for the summer heat to give way to thick, white snow.

For months, Standing Rock Sioux tribe members and their allies battled the energy project they referred to as a “black snake.” They stood in the path of the pipeline both during peaceful actions and clashes with authorities that turned violent.

On Sunday afternoon, tribe members and their allies cried tears of joy after the US Army said it would not – for now – allow the pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

The Army says the plan should be carefully restudied, and alternative routes should be more deeply considered.

The Army’s statement does not rule out approval for the current plan in the future. And with President Obama leaving office in January, many questions still remain about what’s next for the project.