I will bet that the article, and the other one on DAPL in this week’s Common Dreams don’t tell the whole story.
From my understanding of how business operates, there was work before the route was approved by the Federal government.
(It was not like the story of the Moscow-St. Petersburg railroad. The Czar’s government ministers presented the plan to Czar Nicholas, and gave, or deferred, to him a say in the routing of the railroad. The Czar called for a straight edge and a pen, laid it on the map and drew a straight line, and more or less that was where it was built.)
Before the route for DAPL was approved, the company, with its bankers looking over its shoulder, considered what route, considering the environmental risks, and costs of mitigating them, considering the problems of securing right of way, and the costs, several other things, considering the problems of securing government and regulatory permissions and those costs, and totaling the costs to see if it was within budget. They talked with the local government units along the way. I will bet that they talked with the tribal leaders at Standing Rock, and they and the tribal government agreed to money to the tribe for the right of way. (Which can also be considered to be a bribe to the tribe’s leaders. Most things can be seen in two different lights.) And I will bet that the tribal government changed its mind when public sentiment against DAPL raised its head.
The article and many others claim that pipelines are dangerous. To allude to Einstein, everything is relative. Pipelines are lower cost and safer than railroads. The very safest, in the alpha error sense, is to leave the oil in the ground and not transport it or use it at all. That has a considerable beta cost, of all the things we could do with oil and can not if it is left in the ground. Easy for most Common Dreamers to say that we can and must and should live without fossil fuel, and fossil fuel can be adequately substituted with wind solar and conservation (The Sierra Club also opposes hydropower.). But do Common Dreamers already live that? And they have to answer to the rest of the public for depriving them of cheap easy fuel and forcing on them “energy poverty”.