Sign up here for news, updates and more from MAIN
hero

MAIN Coalition Statement Published In Coverage On ND Camp Evacuation

Yesterday, protesters in Cannon Ball, North Dakota began vacating the main protest camps ahead of an evacuation order from Governor Burgum which stated all inhabitants of the camp must vacate by 4 PM.

Despite a large buildup of media coverage around the event, most protesters followed the Governor’s order. The state provided opportunities for assistance to the protesters who agreed to vacate the camp, including a bus ride to Bismarck, clothes, food, and vouchers. However it appears only a handful took them.

After the deadline passed, approximately 75 people outside the camp started taunting officers, who brought five large vans to the scene. Police took about 10 people into custody for failing to heed commands to leave despite an extension of the final deadline, according to authorities.

Craig Stevens, spokesman for the MAIN Coalition, said the group understands “the passions that individuals on all sides of the pipeline discussion feel” and hopes that protesters’ voices “will continue to be heard through other peaceful channels and in court.”

The months of anti-pipeline protests have plagued the surrounding communities in North Dakota, and with the beginning of cleanup operations to avert an environmental crisis on the upper Missouri River we can only hope that the continued evacuation of protesters leads to a return to stability in North Dakota.


Kauzlarich: Invest in American Energy, Enforce the Rule Of Law

A new op-ed by former U.S. Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich was published today in The Hill. Kauzlarich discussed how last week’s House Energy and Commerce hearing emphasizes the need to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline and invest in America’s infrastructure.

Kauzlarich says, “Regulatory oversight of such projects is important, and the United States maintains a strong tradition of enforcing the rule of law. We also have a tradition of ensuring that the voices of local communities affected by such projects are heard. Government at all levels has a responsibility to ensure the rule of law is followed to the letter of the law.”

Throughout the DAPL permitting process the concerns of local communities were addressed by both the state and federal governments and upon the issuance of permits by both entities, the permits carry the force of law and should remain enforced as such. According to Kauzlarich, “Private investment is critical for the production and distribution of U.S. energy resources. The integrity our legal and regulatory structure is critical to ensuring this investment.”

Without the government’s willingness to enforce the rule of law – America’s energy revolution could come to a halt. Thankfully, with construction proceeding on DAPL following action by the Trump Administration to adhere to Corps of Engineers’ recommendation for completion, the rule of law has been established and will ensure America sees this  important project through to completion.


MAIN Coalition Statement on Protest Camp Evacuation

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement regarding North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s evacuation order for the anti-pipeline protest camps adjacent to the Cannonball River for 2:00 p.m. local time today:

“We hope that today’s mandatory evacuation from the protest camp is peaceful and without incident. The federal and state governments have demonstrated tremendous respect and restraint allowing protesters to stay on federal land for several months, but now that seasonal floods are imminent it is in the best interest of all parties to clear and clean the area. We understand the passions that individuals on all sides of the pipeline discussion feel and hope that protesters will recognize that their voices will continue to be heard through other peaceful channels and in court. And finally, we would like to thank the local and state law enforcement officers who have stood bravely in support of upholding the law and maintaining the peace during what was at many times very trying circumstances.”

-###-


LA Times Editorial Board: Pipeline Divestment Bill “Flawed and Dangerous”

In a new editorial, the Los Angeles Times sharply criticized proposed legislation that would divest California’s two largest public pension funds from companies connected to the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Times made clear that such action would have no effect on the pipeline itself, but could amount to billions in losses for Californians.

“The bill, if it were to become law (and it shouldn’t), wouldn’t stop the project from being completed. The Army Corps of Engineers has already given final approval to the remaining section of the pipeline. It would, however, blow a multibillion-dollar hole in the pension funds — and the public pocketbook, because state and local taxpayers would be left to fill that hole.”

The editorial board went on to characterize the proposed legislation as “flawed” and “dangerous,” noting that CalPERS staff recently estimated that divesting from the pipeline would cost the state at least $4 billion.

“The bill did get attention: CalPERS staff recommended that the CalPERS board oppose the bill because of the financial damage it might do to the fund. It also contradicts the fund’s preferred method of affecting social change — which is to lobby the management of the companies in which it invests.”

It’s striking that even the Los Angeles Times, which has openly opposed the pipeline in the past, did not waiver in its rejection of activist attempts to leverage California’s retirement funds to further their own agenda.


A Financial Vanishing Act: The Search For Missing Donations For The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

A post from the Center for Individual Freedom highlights a question surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline protest: Where has all the money gone?

After millions of dollars poured into crowdfunding accounts online, a significant portion of that money remains unaccounted for.

According to the post, “through February 14, over $13.5 million has reportedly been raised for the protesters through at least 350 different online accounts setup on sites like GoFundMe and FundRazr.  While the list represents some of the more serious fundraising efforts, it’s estimated that upwards of 20,000 individual campaigns exist, likely equating to millions in additional income.”

With little transparency throughout the fundraising process, and no answers following an exhaustive search of charitable organizations, it remains unclear how the funds were allocated.

But after the protests cost North Dakota taxpayers more than $33 million dollars, the disappearance of the funds have raised eyebrows in Bismarck. The North Dakota Tax Authority now plans to launch an investigation if income tax forms reflective of the donations are not submitted.


North Dakota Governor Issues Emergency Evacuation Order for Protest Camps

According to a report from the Dickinson Press, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum ordered the mandatory evacuation of Dakota Access Pipeline protesters stressing the dangers of spring flooding and the need to avoid environmental damage. The report followed an official release from the Governor’s Office, and a release from Sen. John Hoeven which stated that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have a crew on site by the end of the week to assist in cleaning up the area.

The order requires the evacuation of everyone currently occupying the Corps of Engineers land along the Cannonball Rivers in Morton and Sioux Counties citing the threat from human and inorganic waste left behind by protesters who have gathered at the site for over half a year.

The waste “pose[s] a significant and increasing environmental threat to the waters of Missouri River if cleanup and removal efforts are not quickly accelerated and completed before flooding begins.”

The order follows an earlier statement from the Governor’s office which said “It is paramount for public safety, and to prevent an environmental disaster, that the camps be cleared prior to a potential spring flood. Once the floodwaters recede, the land will need to be cleaned and eventually restored to pre-protest conditions.”


Energy Subcommittee Hears Testimony from Pipeline Stakeholders and Dakota Access

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.


Statement Regarding Court’s Refusal to Block Work on the Dakota Access Pipeline

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement in response to U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg’s decision to deny a request to issue a temporary restraining order filed on behalf of Native American tribes that would have stopped construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“We are pleased that Judge Boasberg continues his thoughtful and judicious approach towards the Dakota Access pipeline. The company and the government have worked tirelessly for more than two years to ensure all applicable laws and regulations were obeyed and the pipeline’s path followed the most culturally and environmentally sensitive course possible. It is frustrating, however, that the opposition continues to throw lawsuits against the wall in a flailing attempt to scuttle the project. Even while the proceeding was underway this afternoon, another suit hit the docket. There is no doubt that parties deserve their day in court, but how many days are warranted and at what point does this activity become unmasked for what it is: an attack on America’s energy development and the jobs that go along with it.”

-###-


What Others Are Saying on the USACE’s Decision to Grant Final Dakota Access Easement

In addition to MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens’ statement, the following MAIN Coalition members also issued statements following the release of the final easement necessary to finish construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

Ed Wiederstein, Chairman, Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) Coalition said, “The MAIN Coalition is pleased that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided to move forward with the final easement – thus ensuring the completion of the long awaited Dakota Access Pipeline. We thank the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their hard work and deliberation on this project which allowed for this important decision to be reached, and we thank the Trump Administration for moving this project forward.”

Bill Gerhard, President,  Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council said, “The decision to grant the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline following an extensive and thorough review has been eagerly anticipated by thousands of hardworking men and women. We applaud the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their decision to issue the final easement.”

Andy Peterson, President, North Dakota Chamber of Commerce stated, “With the issuance of the final easement at Lake Oahe, our state can put the long saga of Dakota Access’ construction behind them and look forward to operation of this important pipeline project. Our state relies on a stable and lawful regulatory climate to ensure business transactions can occur unencumbered by political interference – the Corps’ engineering decision to grant this easement is a positive step forward for both the project and North Dakota.”

 Ron Ness, President, North Dakota Petroleum Council said, “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to grant the final easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline is a welcome decision for both the oil and gas industry, as well as for businesses and individuals across North Dakota. Our state has waited a long time for this final easement, even following approvals by our own Public Service Commission, and endured months of divisive and disruptive protests. We thank the Corps for their expedient decision following a directive from the Trump Administration to ensure the lawful regulatory review process is carried through to completion.”

Mike Ralston, President of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry stated, “The Iowa Association of Business and Industry thanks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their decision to move forward with the Dakota Access Pipeline. The directive issued by the Trump Administration only a few short weeks ago sought a lawful conclusion to the long process of pipeline approval and we are thankful that we will see the completion of the project soon.”

Dawna Leitzke, Executive Director, South Dakota Petroleum and Propane Marketers Association said,  “The South Dakota Petroleum and Propane Marketers Association applauds the decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. South Dakotans look forward to the completion of this important infrastructure project and a step toward a future of American energy independence.”


MAIN Coalition Statement Regarding Issuance of Final Easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement following news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted the final easement needed to complete the Dakota Access pipeline:

“We are pleased that the Army Corps of Engineers has issued the final easement for work abutting and beneath Lake Oahe. The Corps has worked diligently for more than two years to ensure both the letter and spirit of the regulatory process was followed. President Trump’s expeditious action upon taking office to support energy infrastructure projects sends a clear signal to the world that the U.S. is open for business and that individuals and companies that play by the rules will not be unduly hindered by an overly-burdensome federal government. We remain hopeful that construction will be completed in a safe and timely manner and we thank the law enforcement officers at the site who work tirelessly to ensure the peace.”

-###-


© 2016