Trump Administration Delays Dakota Access Pipeline Decision Again
Above Photo: Riders from the Oglala Sioux Tribe participate in a commemoration of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 at Fort Laramie in Wyoming in April 2018. Photo by Richie Richards / Native Sun News Today
The Trump administration is once again delaying a revised decision on the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. In a status report filed in federal court on Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it needed until August 31 to complete its work on the final portion of the $3.8 billion project. The agency is reviewing information submitted by tribal opponents and Energy Transfer Partners, the firm behind the pipeline, government attorneys said.“The Corps is currently evaluating that information as part of the remand process and therefore requires additional time—to and including August 31, 2018—to complete the remand process,” the filing stated. The agency originally had promised a decision by the end of this week.
Indianz.Com on Flickr: Native Nations Rise in Washington, D.C.A revised decision is needed because a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration approved the final portion of the pipeline without considering all of the impacts. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Yankton Sioux Tribe have raised concerns about oil spills, water resources and their treaty rights.The Army Corps met with all four tribes over the summer and is using that information as part of the review process, government attorneys wrote.“The Corps reviewed information from those meetings and on July 23, 2018, received additional information from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which it is now reviewing,” the filing read.Four days after taking office, President Donald Trump ordered the Army Corps “expedite” consideration of the final portion of the pipeline. He did so without consulting any of the affected tribes.Two weeks later, the Army Corps approved the last segment while the then-Standing Rock Sioux chairman was in an airplane on his way to the White House. Cheyenne River leaders were told after the fact in a phone call.
The swift action — which Trump hinted at during the presidential campaign — enabled the wealthy backers of the pipeline to complete the infrastructure project. Oil began flowing on June 1 but two weeks later, Judge James Boasberg ruled that the Army Corps did not address all of the tribal concerns.Still, Boasberg has repeatedly refused tribal requests to halt operations of the pipeline. It continues to transport crude oil through Sioux Nation treaty territory — the final portion sits on Corps-managed land about a half-mile north of Standing Rock.“Nobody thought any politician would have the guts to approve that final leg and I just closed my eyes and said ‘Do it,'” Trump boasted days after the pipeline became operational.That last segment crosses over the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, which marked its 150th anniversary this year, reserved water, hunting and other rights for the tribes at Lake Oahe.