On February 1, 2017, seventy-six water protectors were arrested at a new camp named “Lost Child Camp.” This camp was set up on land owned by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company that is overseeing construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), near the town of Cannon Ball, ND. Former congressional candidate Chase Iron Eyes was also arrested.
The day before, on January 31, Congressman Kevin Cramer of North Dakota released a statement stating in part that “I have received word the Department of Defense is granting the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline and Congressional notification is imminent.” Senator John Hoeven also issued a statement on the same day, stating in part, “Today, the Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer informed us that he has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with the easement needed to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline.” On January 24, President Donald Trump signed memorandums to push forward construction on the pipeline. These orders allow ETP to go forward with the project, which had been halted since the Army Corps of Engineers halted the project back in December of last year.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe vowed to challenge any suspension of the pipeline’s environmental review in a press release on the Stand With Standing Rock website.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will vigorously pursue legal action to ensure the environmental impact statement order issued late last year is followed so the pipeline process is legal, fair and accurate.
We are not surprised to see North Dakota’s U.S. Sen. John Hoeven issued a statement prematurely championing Trump directives to grant an easement for illegal construction. The Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army had directed the Army Corps to proceed with the final easement necessary to complete the proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It is not a formal issuance of the easement.
The Army Corps lacks statutory authority to simply stop the EIS and issue the easement. The Corps must review the Presidential Memorandum, notify Congress, and actually grant the easement.We have not received formal notice that the EIS has been suspended or withdrawn.
To abandon the EIS would amount to a wholly unexplained and arbitrary change based on the President’s personal views and, potentially, personal investments. We stand ready to fight this battle against corporate interest superseding government procedure and the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans.