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.”