“Today, the Army informed the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Energy Transfer Partners, and Dakota Access, LLC, that it has completed the review that it launched on September 9, 2016,” a press release from the Corps of Engineers states today. “The Army has determined that additional discussion and analysis are warranted in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation’s dispossessions of lands, the importance of Lake Oahe to the Tribe, our government-to-government relationship, and the statute governing easements through government property.”
You can read the full letter from the Corps to Energy Transfer Partners, the company trying to build the much-protested Dakota Access Pipeline, below.
We knew some sort of a decision on the Dakota Access Pipeline was imminent. I guess what we’ve learned now is that the decision was to make no decision at all.
It’s worth keeping in mind at this junction that the Corps had previously indicated that this easement should be issued. It wasn’t until the Obama administration intervened earlier this year that the easement was delayed.
So this is pretty blatant political obstruction. Especially when you consider how thoroughly the tribes were consulted during the regulatory process around the pipeline. “The record shows that the corps held 389 meetings with 55 tribes. Corps officials met many times with leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which initiated the lawsuit and the protests,” Shawn McCoy wrote in a column over the weekend.
“The corps alerted the tribe to the pipeline permit application in the fall of 2014 and repeatedly requested comments from and meetings with tribal leaders, only to be rebuffed over and over. Tribal leaders ignored requests for comment and canceled meetings multiple times,” he continues.
Anyway, these political delays seem like a moot point now. There are just weeks left of the Obama administration, at which point President-elect Donald Trump takes over, at which point approval of this easement seems like a near certainty.
In the mean time North Dakota officials will continue to grapple with a protest movement that is often unlawful, and often violent, who have disrupted the life and peaceful of people in the region most of whom have nothing at all to do with the pipeline.
Here’s the letter:
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