In an op-ed published in the Omaha World Herald, and The Washington Examiner, Ret. Major General Spider Marks expressed his support for the process undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Omaha District Commander Colonel John Henderson.
Major General Marks notes, as we’ve written before, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe choose to not participate throughout the state review process, and willingly had limited to no engagement during the Corps’ own review. Despite repeated attempts to engage the Standing Rock Sioux, the Corps conducted an extremely thorough regulatory review process during the examination of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the conclusion was made that the pipeline would cause No Significant Impact.
General Marks points out the following, “[t]he Standing Rock Sioux alleged in court that the corps improperly permitted pipeline crossings along the Missouri River. But the record shows otherwise, finding that the tribe could not “come up with evidence that the corps acted unreasonably in permitting even a single jurisdictional activity . . . . Tribal leaders alleged that the corps under Henderson’s command failed to consult them as required by law. Yet, the court found, “The corps has documented dozens of attempts to engage Standing Rock in consultations to identify historical resources at Lake Oahe and other PCN crossings.” In fact, even though he was not required to do so Col. Henderson ordered Dakota Access to have tribal officials on site during construction at Corps-permitted sites and to halt construction if historical or cultural artifacts were discovered.
The Corps should be praised for their hard work throughout the review process, not criticized and berated as they have been by protesters and members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, or left to withstand the brunt of criticism for a political decision made by the Administration. The findings of the Assessment should speak for themselves. The finding of No Significant Impact should ensure that this pipeline, lawfully permitted, should continue to be constructed per the recommendation, hard work, and dedication of the men and women of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.