In a letter sent on November 23rd to President Obama, North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, Congressman Kevin Cramer, and Governor Jack Dalrymple called on the White House to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to issue the final easement needed to complete the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline project and provide federal resources to assist with ongoing protests.
“We call on you again to direct the Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) to approve, without further delay, the final federal easement for the Lake Oahe crossing of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Further, in the strongest terms possible, we recommend you provide federal law enforcement resources immediately to state and local agencies in order to maintain public safety, which has been threatened by ongoing – and oftentimes violent – protest activity. These resources are essential to prevent further destruction on and surrounding federal lands.”
North Dakota’s top elected officials went on to highlight that construction of the pipeline is now over 86 percent and has undergone extensive state and federal regulatory reviews over the past two and a half years. Furthermore, they note that two federal courts have ruled in favor of letting the project proceed.
“Twice challenged and twice upheld – including by your own appointees – federal courts found that the Army Corps had followed the appropriate process, the tribe was properly consulted and the project could lawfully proceed. As a former Constitutional law professor you certainly understand there is no legal reason to withhold this easement.”
The letter comes as protesters resort to increasingly dangerous and violent tactics to harm law enforcement officers, trespass on private property, and obstruct construction of the pipeline. President Obama’s decision to “let it play out” my be politically convenient in Washington, but in North Dakota, the administration’s refusal to follow and enforce the rule of law has left entire communities on edge.