A controversial plan to build a massive, privately financed nuclear power plant on the property of an Indian tribe in the Dakotas has been delayed indefinitely.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday that it has postponed a decision on whether the site in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, is an appropriate site for a $50 million land development project, the first of its kind in the United State.
The Fish and Game Service said it will take three to five years to determine whether the Dakota Access pipeline is in the best interest of the Sioux Nation.
The agency said the decision is made by a panel of experts who will meet with tribes in a bid to “address the unique needs of the tribe and its members and the environment, in addition to the economic benefits of the proposed nuclear power project.”
The agency said it plans to issue an order to the tribe in 2018.
The Dakota Access Pipeline would stretch from the South Dakota-Illinois border to a key uranium mine in South Platte, Montana.
It would be the country’s first nuclear power line to be built from North Dakota to Illinois.
The site is home to the U.N. World Heritage Site of the Sacred Stone Camps, a cultural site that is home for hundreds of thousands of Native American people.
The tribe says the pipeline would harm the sacred sites and water supply of its people.