As the future of the Dakota Access Pipeline remains in limbo, so do protesters at Standing Rock. Pipeline work is stalled while the developers battle the Army Corp of Engineers to finish the last chunk of construction.
It may be Christmas, but that is not stopping Kentwood resident Lee Sprague and hundreds of others protesters that are hunkered down in North Dakota. But despite camping in sub-zero temperatures this year, he says they're still feeling the holiday spirit.
"There's a lot of people here who know what the price of peace is," Sprague said. "They know the price of war but there's a high price for peace and the people here on the grounds, the water protectors, know what that price is," he added as he spoke with WZZM 13 over the phone.
Part of that price is spending the holidays continuing the battle. Lee Sprague has been protesting and providing aid in North Dakota for the last couple months. He says despite the frigid circumstances the holiday weekend is making spirits bright.
"There's trees up, there's decorations up, I hear singing here and there," he said. "I hear a lot of different traditions with different people around the world not just native people. I know there's some Celtic celebration. I know of some Kwanzaa celebrations that have happened, so you know, there's a lot of good things to celebrate."
One of those things is the current pause on pipeline construction. Earlier this month, the Army of Corp of Engineers announced it was looking at alternative routes to avoid cutting through land that could threaten water supply.
In a news release, the pipeline developers say it was a move that was politically motivated saying in part, "This is nothing new from this Administration, since over the last four months the Administration has demonstrated by its action and inaction that it intended to delay a decision in this matter until President Obama is out of office."
Which is why Sprague says they are not going anywhere.
"I think there is a possibility of a great change," he said. "I think the people of Standing Rock hope to be a part of that change that is possible in America."