Feb. 7, 2017 – Today, the Army Corps of Engineers notified Congress that—within the next 24 hours—it will issue an easement to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation. The Corps also reversed its Dec. 4 decision and announced that it would forego the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement analyzing alternate routes for the controversial crude oil pipeline.
In a statement, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said it is undaunted in its commitment to challenge an easement announcement by the U.S. Department of the Army for the Dakota Access Pipeline. “The drinking water of millions of Americans is now at risk. We are a sovereign nation and we will fight to protect our water and sacred places from the brazen private interests trying to push this pipeline through to benefit a few wealthy Americans with financial ties to the Trump administration,” said Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “Americans have come together in support of the Tribe asking for a fair, balanced and lawful pipeline process. The environmental impact statement was wrongfully terminated.”
“The Obama administration correctly found that the Tribe’s treaty rights needed to be acknowledged and protected, and that the easement should not be granted without further review and consideration of alternative crossing locations,” said Jan Hasselman, lead attorney for the Tribe. “Trump’s reversal of that decision continues a historic pattern of broken promises to Indian Tribes and unlawful violation of Treaty rights. They will be held accountable in court.”
Next Steps for Tribe and Allies:
- The Tribe will challenge any easement decision on the grounds that the EIS was wrongfully terminated. The Tribe will demand a fair, accurate and lawful environmental impact statement to identify true risks to its treaty rights, including its water supply and sacred places.
- The Tribe has asked the court for DAPL to disclose its oil spill and risk assessment records for full transparency and review by the public.
- If DAPL is successful in constructing and operating the pipeline, the Tribe will seek to shut the pipeline operations down.
- A Native Nations march on Washington is scheduled for March 10. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and tribes across the country invite allies in America and from around the world to join the march.
“As Native peoples, we have been knocked down again, but we will get back up, we will rise above the greed and corruption that has plagued our peoples since first contact,” Archambault II said. “We call on the Native Nations of the United States to stand together, unite and fight back. Under this administration, all of our rights, everything that makes us who we are is at risk. Please respect our people and do not come to Standing Rock and instead exercise your First Amendment rights and take this fight to your respective state capitols, to your members of Congress, and to Washington, D.C.”