Two federal court opinions have now struck down arguments against the Dakota Access Pipeline from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their activist lawyers, but the Obama administration continues to hold up an easement to cross U.S. Army Corps of Engineer land adjacent to and under the Missouri River/Lake Oahe reservoir.
The Obama administration had requested, in a press release issued after the latest court ruling in favor of the pipeline, that construction be voluntarily halted in a twenty mile zone on either side of the crossing. But today the folks at Energy Transfer Partners rejected the request.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”In light of Sunday’s court decision, Dakota Access looks forward to a prompt resumption of construction activities east and west of Lake Oahe on private land,” the company said in a statement sent out early this morning.[/mks_pullquote]
“In light of Sunday’s court decision, Dakota Access looks forward to a prompt resumption of construction activities east and west of Lake Oahe on private land,” the company said in a statement sent out early this morning (read it in full below). “We reiterate our commitment to protect cultural resources, the environment and public safety. We echo the urgings of the North Dakota Governor, its two Senators, its Congressman and local enforcement officials that any protests be undertaken in a peaceful and law abiding manner. All construction efforts will be undertaken in close coordination with State and local law enforcement officials, and we are hopeful their law enforcement efforts will be supplemented by those of the federal government.”
“We continue to believe that the Army Corps will soon issue the easement for approximately 1,100 feet necessary for the crossing beneath the Missouri River—the sole remaining authorization necessary for completion of the project,” the release also states.
My first response is to applaud the pipeline company for moving forward. They should pursue their legal right to build their project in every place where it’s currently lawful and eschew the political games of obstruction and delay the Obama administration is playing.
My second response is that this will likely be a bit more fuel for the protest fire in south central North Dakota. By all appearances the often unlawful and sometimes violent protest groups aiming to block the pipeline aren’t going home any time soon. The pipeline company is going to have to fight for every foot of pipe they want to lay.
Still, pushing ahead is the right choice. We cannot allow the rule of law to be waylaid by political saboteurs. The facts show that the pipeline company followed the law, scrupulously, every step of the way. They have the right to build this pipeline, and they should build this pipeline.
Here’s the full release:
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