The media may have forgotten the ferocious battle the Standing Rock water protectors fought against the Dakota Access Pipeline but that doesn’t mean that the fight is over.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is continuing their battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline – a battle which has been raging since 2016 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deemed that the pipeline route would not affect any historic properties without cooperating with Standing Rock tribal leaders.
Last week the Standing Rock Sioux asked a federal court to throw out the environmental assessment of DAPL’s potential impacts. The tribe told the court that the assessment was deeply flawed as the Army Corps of Engineers “never engaged with the Tribe or its technical experts, shared critical information, or responded to the Tribe’s concerns.”
The case, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the tribe, argues that a February 2017 environmental easement allowed Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company that owns the pipeline, to avoid an environmental impact statement.
Although a few months later a judge ordered the Army Corps to consider environmental impacts, the federal government allowed the pipeline’s construction to move forward still without any cooperations between the Army Corps and the Standing Rock Sioux.
The tribe is asking for a pause in construction while a thorough environmental assessment, this time with input from the tribe is conducted.
The timing for the suit is critical, as the tribe is also attacking a newly-proposed expansion of the pipeline that will nearly double the pipeline’s daily capacity.
“With DAPL’s proposal to double the flow of the pipeline, the unexamined risks to the Tribe continue to grow,” the tribe said.
Several Presidential candidates support the tribe’s efforts again the construction of the DAPL, as well as similar indigenous group’s struggles against similar projects. Elizabeth Warren has also stated that “When I’m president, energy projects that impact Indian Country won’t proceed without consent. That means revoking Trump’s KeystoneXL and DAPL permits.”
A few 2020 democratic presidential candidates, such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have signed the recent “NoKXL pledge”, which publicly asserts their opposition of the Keystone XL pipeline, DAPL, and other fossil fuel and natural gas projects.