According to an attorney for the Army Corps of Engineers, the administration has decided to grant the final easement required for Energy Transfer Partners (the company behind the pipeline) to build the pipeline under Lake Oahe.
The pipeline’s construction threatens land the Standing Rock Sioux hold as sacred – including sacred burial grounds – and with oil pipelines’ tendency to leak and explode, the completion of the pipeline also poses a threat to the environment in and around Lake Oahe, endangering tribal drinking water.
The Obama administration had denied the final easement needed to complete the pipeline’s construction and ordered the Army Corps to conduct a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
But Trump has no intention of upholding Obama’s decision.
The Army Corps is losing no time in abiding by Trump’s executive memo, which ordered them to move forward with the pipeline’s construction in an “expedited” manner. The Army Corps has even ignored policy requiring a two-week waiting period between notifying Congress of their intention to grant an easement and when the easement is granted, instead waiting only 24 hours.
The Standing Rock Sioux have pledged to fight the Army Corps in court, should they attempt to skip the EIS, calling the presidential change in the decision regarding the easement “wholly unexplained and arbitrary … based on the president’s personal views and, potentially, personal investments.”
They aren’t wrong. While spokespeople for Trump have claimed he has divested from the project, they have yet to provide any proof that he no longer controls as much as $50,000 worth of stock in Energy Transfer Partners.
NationofChange joined thousands of water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin camp, facing off with law enforcement until the final easement was denied by Obama. We worried the fight wasn’t over, and now with Trump in the White House, we see that our fears have been realized.
Several hundred remain in camp while tribal officials continue to work with law enforcement and to prevent water protectors from being “forcibly removed.” The generally feeling is that as long as the pipeline crews remain, so too will the water protectors.
The Dakota Access pipeline is a 1,172-mile-long underground oil pipeline, designed to carry shale oil from the Bakken fields in North Dakota to an oil tank farm in Patoka, Illinois. It is nearly 80% complete.
Mary Boeve, executive director of 350.org, said in a statement:
“Trump thinks he’s getting what he wants, but the people who’ve been emboldened by the worldwide fight against the Dakota Access pipeline won’t quietly back away.
“Indigenous leaders, landowners, and climate activists are ready challenge this decision in the courts and in the streets – as we have each time the fossil fuel industry steamrolls over human rights for their own profits.”