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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.”

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Statement Regarding Comments of Fmr. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell

Former Obama Administration Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell released a statement earlier today on Twitter about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to issue the final easement for construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline. In response, MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement:

“Earlier today I was stunned by Ms. Jewell’s spectacular attempt to rewrite history.  Her statement is so riddled with misinformation, it’s a disservice to the Americans who, for nearly four years, paid her salary.  It’s one thing to disagree with President Trump’s policies, it is quite another to misrepresent the actual facts of the situation.

Unlike Ms. Jewell’s claim, there is absolutely no evidence – actual or anecdotal – that the Army Corps of Engineers believed that a broader review was warranted.  In fact, the comprehensive, fact-based, 9-page memo from December 3 that Army Corps Col. John Henderson wrote to his superiors concluded with “[the Corps] intends to execute and issue the easement to Dakota Access”.  That was consistent with his memo from July 25.

This is not ambiguous.

However, less than 24 hours after Col. Henderson sent the memo up his chain of command, the Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy – an Obama Administration political appointee – issued her own memo in which she says the Army’s call for more information was her decision and she reaffirms that the Corps did everything in accordance with the letter and spirit of the law.

“I want to be clear that this decision does not alter the Army’s position that the Corps’ prior reviews and actions have comported with legal requirements.  Rather, my decision….” (Paragraph 15).

Furthermore, there is no reasonable argument that the Corps’ did not attempt to fully engage with Native tribes.  Throughout the nearly 1,000 days the Dakota Access Pipeline has been under consideration, the Corps engaged with 55 Native tribes at least 389 times.  Judge Boasberg himself articulated  in his opinion rejecting the tribe’s request for an injunction to stop the work at Lake Oahe, that the Corps “exceeded” its obligations.  And, in addition to the Army Corps’ thousand page environmental assessment, each of the four states through which the pipeline travels independently reviewed and approved the pipeline’s path.

And finally, Ms. Jewell continues the fiction that the pipeline was initially slated to go near Bismarck until met with resistance.  In his own words, Bismarck Mayor Mike Seminary disputed that claim saying, “Bismarck has never been involved in that discussion. Not one policy maker, not one department head, not one city employee has ever been involved in a discussion with regards to a route north of Bismarck …. So move on from that subject. You are wrong and you are creating issues.”

Throughout this entire course of action I, and the Coalition, have strived to be forthright and honest about the facts; unfortunately, those who oppose energy development have often resorted to creating their own reality.

For Ms. Jewell to impugn the integrity of the Corps and the men and women who serve our nation is simply un-American.  As a citizen, she is certainly entitled to express her own opinion; but as a former servant of the public’s trust it should be beneath her to make up her own facts.”

 


Statement Regarding Army Corps Intent to Issue Final DAPL Easement

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement in response to the notice that the Army Corps of Engineers intends to issue the final easement for the Dakota Access pipeline.

“We’re pleased that the Trump Administration has followed the counsel of the Army Corps of Engineers and the letter of law by indicating its intention to issue the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. This action is proof-positive of President Trump’s commitment to supporting domestic energy development, including midstream infrastructure projects. Today’s action sends a strong positive signal to those individuals and companies seeking to invest in the U.S. and will help strengthen our economy and create jobs.”

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Richard Epstein: Trump Administration Not Bound By 11th Hour Obama Reversal Of USACE Recommendation

One of the most interesting points from yesterday’s status hearing in Judge Boasberg’s court was the attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe stating that the government couldn’t retract its Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

From Bloomberg:  “Jan Hasselman, lead lawyer for the suing Sioux tribes, told the judge that because the Army Corps had already committed to an environmental impact review of the lake crossing, any easement granted before that analysis is complete “would be unlawful.”” (Bloomberg, 2/6/17, “Dakota Access Pipeline Decision May Come by Week’s End,” by Andrew M Harris).

This seems to be the one of the final straws at which project opponents are grasping.  EarthJustice, on its website, doubles down saying:

Could President Trump reverse the Dec. 4 decision?

 Reversing the Dec. 4 decision would be arbitrary, capricious and unlawful, and we would challenge it in court. The government has made a considered decision that this pipeline needs more review. There are important issues on the table concerning tribal treaty rights and environmental justice that the Corps decided need a full review.

 Of course, Earthjustice ignores the reality that the “arbitrary” and “capricious” act was done by political appointees in the Obama Administration in the form of its Dec. 4 memo and more so in its Jan. 17 announcement (via leaked tweet) of the Notice (just 3 days before a new administration was to take office).  For months the federal government – specifically the Army Corps of Engineers – asserted that Dakota Access had done everything right, that the Army Corps had followed the required regulatory process, and that the pipeline would have “no significant impact” on Lake Oahe.

It’s also interesting that EarthJustice said “that the Corps decided need a full review”; because that is provably false.

On Dec. 3, 2016, (one day before Dec. 4 (see above memo)) the Army Corps laid out its rationale for approving the easement in this detailed, fact-based 9-page memo to the Secretary of the Army, which the Obama Administration refused to release.  In fact, the Obama Administration’s political appointees’ decision to overrule the career Army Corps personnel actually fits the literal (yes, literal) definitions of arbitrary and capricious.

MAIN posed this question to an attorney, Professor Richard Epstein, from NYU.  Here is his comment:

 “Mr. Hasselman’s position is utterly ungrounded in established principles of administrative law.  As SRST has itself previously argued, it is only final orders that are subject to judicial review at all.  So that the decision to alter the administrative treatment of any case prior to final judgment is beyond review.  The SRST can, of course, seek to challenge the final permit given to Dakota Access, but considering the airtight case raised by the Army Corps of Engineers, that lawsuit would most likely be dismissed as frivolous.”

 “It is inconceivable that the Trump administration is bound by an eleventh hour decision of the Obama administration that disregarded a prior judgment in favor of the pipeline and the unambiguous approval of that application by the Corps.  It is doubly improper to insist that the Corps now conduct a review that could last for years when current administrative law lets the government change its course of direction from a prior administration without having to explain why.  There is no reason for the Trump or any other administration, to give the opponents of a meritorious project the benefits of endless delay, when every one of their factual and legal objections have been presented and rejected multiple times in both judicial and administrative settings.”


Statement On Reports An Easement For DAPL Will Be Issued

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement regarding reports from Capitol Hill that the Acting Secretary of the Army has directed the final easement be issued for the Dakota Access Pipeline:

“After nearly 1,000 days since the beginning of this process, we are hopeful that we may be one step closer to the ultimate completion of the project. We appreciate that President Trump is keeping his word to move lawful, carefully sited energy projects forward. This is a positive development for the pipeline, construction workers across the country, and those who seek to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. It also begins the clock that will mark down the moments until the dedicated local and state law enforcement officers, as well as community members throughout North Dakota, will be able to get back to their normal lives. And finally, e hope that individuals on all sides of this issue will be able to move forward peacefully as this process draws to a close.”

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MAIN Coalition Statement on Dakota Access Status Hearing

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement following today’s status conference that was held in light of President Trump’s order directing the Secretary of the Army to move forward with issuing the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline:

“We appreciate the long, hard hours local and state law enforcement officers have endured in an effort to protect the peace by serving as a buffer between the protesters and the workers.  We hope that soon, President Trump will issue the final easement, construction will be completed, and everyone can go back to their normal lives.”

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Union Leaders Discuss Dakota Access on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Hardball with Chris Matthews

Mark McManus, president of the Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, & Service Techs and Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday morning to discuss President Trump’s infrastructure plans and recent executive actions to advance the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.

Trump’s support for the pipeline projects came a day after McManus and O’Sullivan joined other union leaders at the White House for a meeting with President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and other top aids for a conversation on the nation’s infrastructure needs.

Speaking about Dakota Access, O’Sullivan told co-host Joe Scarborough that the project created thousands of “good middle class jobs,” including 4,500 building trades men and women.

In a separate appearance, McManus and O’Sullivan told Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball” that they were “more than encouraged” by their meeting with Trump and his subsequent executive actions to advance the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.

“This was a big day,” said O’Sullivan. “Less than 24 hours ago we were in the Roosevelt Room and the Oval Office — Mark, myself, and some other labor leaders — talking about these very issues and in less than 24 hours there’s five executive orders that are going to make a difference in our economy, our country, and in the lives of men and women we represent.”


What Others Are Saying on President Trump’s Decision to Move Forward on the Dakota Access Pipeline

Bill Gerhard, President, Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council said, “President Trump’s administration has made completion of this project a priority because it has created jobs and will continue to create new opportunities from North Dakota to Illinois. We look forward to finishing this important construction project.”

Ed Wiederstein, Chairman, Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) Coalition said, “The MAIN Coalition is pleased that the Trump Administration has made the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline an immediate priority and will see construction through. With progress on the pipeline now continuing unabated by federal interference, Midwesterners can look forward to this project finally becoming operational and delivering the energy resources that keep our country energy independent.”

Andy Peterson, President, North Dakota Chamber of Commerce stated, “The pragmatic steps taken by the Trump Administration to ensure completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline are the right decisions for North Dakota businesses. Investment in our resources and infrastructure ensures long term prosperity for our state and the many businesses that support the energy industry. ”

Ron Ness, President, North Dakota Petroleum Council said, “For over half a year North Dakotans have felt the burden of an uncertain future and a lack of decisive action from Washington. We applaud President Trump’s vision for an energy producing, energy independent America that includes sensible investment in our pipeline infrastructure.”

Mike Ralston, President of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry stated, “Since President Trump voiced his support for the project many years ago, ABI and its members were confident that Dakota Access would successfully complete the construction process – and today’s announcement is a crucial step in achieving that goal.”

Dawna Leitzke, Executive Director, South Dakota Petroleum and Propane Marketers Association said, “The South Dakota Petroleum and Propane Marketers Association has long recognized the importance of the Dakota Access Pipeline in meeting regional demand for domestically-produced crude oil. President Trump’s timely Executive Order to move the project forward will fulfill that goal…”

Chad Carter, IUOE Local 234 said, “Thousands of IUOE members worked tirelessly to ensure that the Dakota Access Pipeline was constructed safely and efficiently. While these men and women were disheartened by delays in the pipeline’s completion, today’s decision by the Trump administration restored their confidence in the due process of law.”


Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order on the Dakota Access Pipeline

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement following President Trump’s signing of an executive order directing the federal government to expedite the issuance of the final, already approved, easement for the Dakota Access pipeline:

“We applaud and appreciate President Trump’s immediate and decisive action to expedite the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. President Trump’s decision shows businesses that the rule of law will be respected and demonstrates an affirmation of regulatory certitude to those looking to invest in America.

“The 1,172-mile project has been fully approved by four states and the federal government for months and is more than 95 percent complete at a cost of about $3.5 billion so far. Once operational, it will be among the safest, most technologically advanced pipelines in the world, delivering more than 450,000 barrels of light sweet crude oil per day in an environmentally sensitive and cost effective manner.”

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Statement on President Trump’s Expected Approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement in response to news that President Trump will sign an executive order allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to move forward:

“We are hopeful and optimistic that President Trump will issue the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline and allow Keystone to move forward. It will not only be a positive development for these two projects but also for our nation’s resource development and energy infrastructure as a whole.”

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© 2016