On Tuesday, February 7, 2016, The US Army Corps of Engineers announced they intend to issue the final permit that grants an easement to expedite the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This decision will allow Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) passage through the land at Lake Oahe Dam and Reservoir in North Dakota. The Army intends to cancel further environmental study. This allows the Lake Oahe crossing as early as today, according to court documents filed by the Justice Department that include letters to members of Congress from Deputy Assistant Army Secretary Paul Cramer.
Robert Speer, Acting Secretary of the Army, announced the decision, stating on Tuesday, “Today’s announcement will allow for the final step, which is granting of the easement. Once that is done, we will have completed all the tasks in the Presidential Memorandum of January 24, 2017.”
This includes terminating the intent to file an Environmental Impact Statement.
Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) also issued a press release on Tuesday, that stated in part:
For the North Dakota families, workers and tribes who have felt the impact of the Dakota Access pipeline conflict every day – today’s announcement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers brings this issue one step closer to final resolution – and delivers the certainty and clarity I’ve been demanding. As has remained my focus throughout this process, it’s critical that North Dakotans are able to feel safe in their neighborhoods, in their jobs, and in their daily lives. That’s why I’ve been pressing all sides for months, including President Trump, to provide the law enforcement resources and personnel needed to support our communities whose resources have been stretched thin. And it’s why I support Governor Burgum, Chairman Archambault, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council in their call on protesters to leave the camp north of the Cannonball River to protect both the protesters and law enforcement from the dangerous threat of floods that could happen in floodplain where the camp sits as early as March
President Trump claims to have received no phone calls complaining about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). What Trump fails to mention is the reason he has received no phone calls. The White House call-in comment line has been non-operational since January towards the end of former President Obama’s administration and is still non-operational at the time this article was written.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe stated in a press release that same day that they are “undaunted in [the] commitment to challenge [the] 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. 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. This pipeline was unfairly rerouted across our treaty lands. The Trump administration – yet again – is poised to set a precedent that defies the law and the will of Americans and our allies around the world. – Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
On January 20, the Standing Rock Tribal Council voted unanimously to support the district of Cannon Ball in asking water protectors to leave the area and canceling plans for a winter camp. Sacred Stone Camp founder Ladonna Bravebull Allard was not at this meeting and has no plans to close her camp. In an article on the Sacred Stone Camp website titled To Save the Water, We Must Break the Cycle of Colonial Trauma, published February 4, Allard writes, in part:
The world wants to stand with Standing Rock, but Standing Rock stands against us. Chairman Dave Archambault threw our people to the dogs when he said the camps’ actions “…do not represent the tribe nor the original intent of the water protectors.” He forgets that we at Sacred Stone Camp were the first to stand up for the water, and that we stand with all the camps who have joined our struggle.
This movement was started by the people, and led by our youth. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s decision to negotiate with the State and disown the people who came to fight for our water is what could ultimately be our downfall. We have had many thousands of people ready to stand together in front of those machines. The Indigenous nations of Turtle Island had united as never before. But as division grows, it is very difficult to see a path forward.
The Indigenous Coalition at Standing Rock is calling for February 8 to be “an international day of emergency actions to disrupt business as usual and unleash a global intersectional resistance to fossil fuels and fascism.”