Army Corps of Engineers says more study, input from Native Americans needed on Dakota Access pipeline
NORTH DAKOTA — An industry group that supports the Dakota Access pipeline says the latest decision by the Army is an attempt at “death by delay.”
The Army announced late Monday, November 14th it had finished reviewing its process for approving the pipeline’s route on land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. But it said it needs more study and wants input from the Standing Rock Sioux before it allows the pipeline to cross under a Missouri River reservoir.
The MAIN Coalition — made of agriculture, business and labor entities that benefit from Midwest infrastructure projects — called it a political decision.The MAIN Coalition’s Craig Stevens says “it’s past time for the president to lift the hold on the Dakota Access pipeline and issue the final, already approved easement.”
Stevens said it’s an example of why voters rejected Democrats in last week’s election. And he said he hopes it’s not the final word on the pipeline with President-elect Donald Trump set to take office.
The pipeline developer, Energy Transfer Partners, didn’t immediately comment on the Army announcement.
Meanwhile, an attorney for an environmental group says he believes President Barack Obama’s administration will make a decision on the Dakota Access pipeline before the president leaves office.
Attorney Jan Hasselman with environmental group Earthjustice, who filed the lawsuit in July on behalf of the tribe, says he expects the decision before President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in on January 20th.
The Army Corps of Engineers had given permission to pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners permission, but in September it said more analysis was warranted in the wake of American Indian concerns.
The Standing Rock Sioux says the $3.8 billion, four-state pipeline threatens its drinking water and cultural sites. ETP disputes that and says it’s preparing to bore under the river.
Army Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy said in a letter to company officials and tribal Chairman Dave Archambault Monday that “additional discussion with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and analysis are warranted.”
Darcy says the Army will work with the tribe on a timeline.
Groups protesting the construction of the pipeline are planning more than 200 protest actions across the country Tuesday, November 15th seeking to draw the attention of President Barack Obama.
Rallies are to include events at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offices in many states while other locations include federal buildings and offices of banks that have helped finance the project.
Protests are planned in every state but Rhode Island and Mississippi, but organizers say they’re working on getting events in every state.
The groups, including the Indigenous Environmental Network, Honor the Earth and Greenpeace USA want Obama to permanently halt the construction of the pipeline — the focus of confrontations between police and protesters in North Dakota.
The project also crosses South Dakota, Iowa and enters into Illinois.
On Monday, a large group of Dakota Access protesters caused the state Capitol in Bismarck to be locked down.
Highway Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson said a “large number of protesters” gathered outside the building Monday morning. He said the Capitol was locked to avoid them gathering inside the building. The patrol is in charge of Capitol security.
Several troopers were patrolling the Capitol and the grounds.
Earlier this month, more than a dozen protesters were arrested in the judicial wing of the Capitol in Bismarck.
Iverson said the protesters were sitting, chanting and singing and refused orders to leave. Three other people who refused orders to leave the governor’s residence on the Capitol grounds were also arrested.