Today, the Energy Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing in Washington, DC to gather information from a number of stakeholders on various energy infrastructure projects. The hearing was entitled “Modernizing Energy and Electricity Delivery Systems: Challenges and Opportunities to Promote Infrastructure Improvement and Expansion.” The committee heard from various stakeholders with vested interest in energy infrastructure projects, including members of the labor and construction community, Native American Community, electrical grid builders and operators, and pipeline builders and operators.
Pipeline projects across America were a key focus of testimony from many of the individuals on the panel and during many of the questions from the Committee. Notably, many of the half-truths, misrepresentation, and partisan politics that have pervaded pipeline projects over the past six months were addressed.
During the hearing Joey Mahmoud, Project Manager for the Dakota Access Pipeline spoke on the impact of these half-truths and misrepresentations on the Dakota Access Pipeline specifically.
Mr. Mahmoud noted that the letter of the law was followed closely throughout the approval process, including extensive Native American consultations by both the company constructing Dakota Access and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Despite following a clearly delineated legal process, a political decision was made to stall the final easement necessary to complete construction at the 11th hour in spite of the efforts of four state regulators, the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in conjunction with other federal agencies.
Mr. Mahmoud’s testimony concluded with an emphasis on the importance of the role of the federal government to enforce the rule of law:
“Mr. Chairman, we came to realize that even a company as large as Energy Transfer is helpless in the face of a government which will neither obey nor enforce the law. We came to realize that playing by the rules can count for little. And we came to realize that good faith efforts to reach accommodation with the many different stakeholders can be a fool’s errand when political motivation overrides the rule of law.”
Now that the government has given final easement, construction continues toward the completion of Dakota Access.