February 09, 2017

Final Easement Approved for DAPL to Finish Construction

Eliza Racine

Little more than a week after President Donald Trump’s memorandums to push through two hotly contested oil pipelines, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) approved the final easement to finish Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on Feb. 7.

Despite that the ACOE Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is still open to public opinion and is a process that usually takes years to finish, acting Secretary of the Army, Robert Speer — who directed ACOE to make the final approval — claimed that it was unnecessary. Speer’s decision is rooted in the belief that there is enough information on the pipeline’s impact to allow the permit to cross Lake Oahe.

At this rate, it is estimated that the pipeline will be operation by the late second quarter of the year.

With these new developments, ACOE broke their promise to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to review their misjudgments to allow construction to get this far. Now, the Corps are being pressured to follow a legally-dubious order based on Trump’s biased interests in the oil industry. Standing Rock has stated that they are committed to taking legal action for a fair review of DAPL and remained determined to stop this pipeline from contaminating their water source.

“The Army Corps lacks statutory authority to simply stop the EIS and issue the easement,” the Standing Rock Sioux said in a statement. “The Corps must review the Presidential Memorandum, notify Congress, and actually grant the easement. To abandon the EIS would amount to a wholly unexplained and arbitrary change based on the President’s personal views and, potentially, personal investments.”

Not only does expediting environmental reviews pose a threat to drinking water, but it also ignores the treaties meant to keep such infrastructure projects from being illegally built on Native lands. Any trust left in the American government will be lost if their concerns are not taken into consideration.

The government’s carelessness and the continuing mistreatment against the water protectors is a reminder that the fight against DAPL is far from over. Construction cannot be allowed to continue, especially if the vital analyses are bypassed in favor of Trump’s personal interests.

You can take action now. Contact your representatives to stop the illegal expediting of DAPL, and urge Trump to listen to reason via our website lakotalaw.org. Donate here for the water protectors’ legal fund and to fund our defense of our lead attorney Chase Iron Eyes.