‘Furious’ at Army Corps, Tribe Calls for Public Support to Shut Down Dakota Access Pipeline

“The Corps’ covering for the pipeline company’s outrageous safety record and the reviewer’s serious conflict of interest have now resulted in a failed effort,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairwoman Janet Alkire. “They need to start over with adult supervision.”

By Jon Queally. Published 9-10-2023 by Common Dreams

Opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline hold a protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Oct. 25, 2016. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/cc)

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairwoman Janet Alkire is leading a fresh demand that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers throw out an ongoing environmental review process of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline and start again from scratch alongside a superseding call for the pipeline to be shuttered completely.

Following Friday’s release of a revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), ordered by a federal court, the tribe said the document reveals the entire process has been a failure and that the pipeline—currently operating across their land without consent in what they consider an “illegal” manner by the Energy Transfer company—should be shut down once and for all.

“We’re furious that the Army Corps has addressed none of our major concerns during the review process,” Chairwoman Alkire said in a statement.

“The pipeline is an imminent threat to the Missouri River, sensitive habitat, and sacred burial sites along the riverbank,” she continued. “The oil company’s emergency response plans are inadequate, its safety track record is horrendous, and there’s been a stunning lack of transparency with Standing Rock throughout the environmental review process, including inaccurate characterizations of tribal consultation.”

The Army Corps did not make any recommendations or indicate preferences among the alternatives presented in the new EIS report, which included keeping it in operation, possible rerouting, removing the pipeline by excavation, or abandoning it in place. The Corps said its final recommendations will accompany a final report once the review process is complete, but the Standing Rock Sioux said the process has been seriously flawed.

The tribe said the draft EIS fails to “account for the existence of criminal charges and a host of fines and serious citations” from regulators faced by Energy Transfer. Alkire accused the Corps of “doing all it can to ignore the company’s poor safety record and the high risk” of the pipeline. According to the statement by the tribe:

the entirety of the environmental review process hasn’t been taken seriously and is compromised because the Corps selected a company with a clear conflict of interest to prepare the just-released draft EIS. Environmental Resources Management — which also produced a sparkling environmental review for the Keystone XL pipeline, later shelved due to environmental concerns — is a member of the American Petroleum Institute. That organization previously filed a legal brief in support of DAPL in Standing Rock’s suit against the Army Corps.
Moreover, Environmental Resources Management has contracted with at least five separate companies with an ownership interest in DAPL.

The release of the EIS triggers a 45-day public comment period and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is now requesting public support in opposition of the project.

“The Corps’ covering for the pipeline company’s outrageous safety record and the reviewer’s serious conflict of interest have now resulted in a failed effort,” said Alkire of the current process. “They need to start over with adult supervision.”

Amy Mall, senior advocate at NRDC, said her group stands “in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in opposing this dirty and dangerous pipeline that harms the climate and threatens the primary water source for the Tribe.”

“The Army Corps must consider all of the risks of this pipeline, make all significant environmental information available without redactions, and honor the Tribe’s treaty rights,” Mall added. “We call on the Corps to shut it down.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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