Federal Agencies Support Tribes, Scold Army Corps of Engineers on Bakken Pipeline
Bemidji, MN – In a surprising act of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, three federal agencies have sent formal letters to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recommending that a full environmental impact statement be conducted on the proposed route of the Dakota Access pipeline, a bakken crude oil infrastructure project of Energy Transfer Partners.
The agency letters from The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation point out a general confusion why a fuller analysis of the project’s environmental impacts is not being conducted for the 1,168-mile crude oil pipeline. Furthermore, the letters severely criticize and question the Army Corps of Engineers lack of consultation with tribal nations about the pipeline project, a process required by federal law.
The USACE is mandated under CFR 800 to initiate consultation with tribes whose historic properties may be affected by the pipeline route. This includes: consultation with the tribes, identification of historic and tribal properties that may be affected and resolution of adverse effects to those properties. This entire process has not occurred.
Grassroots Indigenous leaders have demanded that the Dakota Access pipeline be rejected for the following reasons:
The USACE utterly failed to consult, coordinate, and obtain consent from the tribal nations who could potentially be paved over and polluted by the pipeline’s planned route and it’s impacts.
The impacts on public drinking water, the proximity to tribal communities, and impacts on culturally sensitive areas were not adequately taken into account, furthermore, present too great of a risk to legitimize building this pipeline.
And lastly, society cannot afford to lock itself into more oil extraction and development while leading scientists of the world state that in order to avoid major climate chaos and loss of life we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
Native and non-native landowners, tribes and communities from states along its route have actively resisted the proposed crude oil pipeline that will connect the Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to an oil terminal hub in Patoka, Illinois. Most recently, Dakota and Lakota citizens on the Standing Rock Sioux Nation have erected a spiritual encampment as a blockade on the proposed pipeline crossing near Cannonball, ND. The pipeline will carry at least 450,000 barrels of oil per day.
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Section 106 Coordintor Standing Rock Tribal Historic Preservation Office, Landowner on the Cannon Ball River states:
“We are so thankful that the EPA, DOI, and the Advisory Council are requesting a full EIS on the Dakota Access Pipeline and hoping that the Army Corp of Engineers listen to the request of these agencies and to the Native communities who will be affected by this dirty Bakken pipeline.”
Joye Braun Cheyenne River Sioux community organizer states:
“I’m extremely happy that these federal departments are asking for a full EIS and listening to tribal concerns. Tribal Concerns are everyone’s concern. Safe water, is everyone’s right. We are not expendable.”
Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In The Ground Campaign Organizer for The Indigenous Environmental Network states:
“It is impressive to see these federal agencies stand up in support of the Standing Rock Lakota Nation and acknowledge tribe’s right to be consulted on any extractive development that impacts lands, water, and peoples within their territory. And although a full EIS is a welcomed step to hold Dakota Access accountable, the only way we can truly protect the land and water is by rejecting such dirty oil projects, enact just transition policy towards renewable energy and keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”