On Friday, September 23, the Department of the Interior, Justice Department, and Army Corps of Engineers released a schedule for upcoming consultations with Native American tribes. Following the announcement MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement:
The MAIN Coalition agrees that tribal consultations should continue to play an important role in prospective infrastructure development. With regards to the Dakota Access Pipeline, the official and judicial records show the Army Corps of Engineers and the company held at least 389 consultations with 55 Native American tribes as well as several hundred other consultations with interested individuals, groups, and elected officials throughout the course of the permitting process. In part as a result of those consultations, the final path avoids culturally and environmentally sensitive areas.
The process to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline was done correctly; and these new discussions should not impact, retroactively, any ongoing infrastructure project or any infrastructure project that is currently under review for permitting. To do so would have a chilling effect on private infrastructure development, negatively impact our economy, and cost Americans their jobs.
Should the federal or state governments update their regulations moving forward, they should be transparent, consistent, and reasonable so the regulatory process can ameliorate the concerns of our nation’s various constituencies while not stifling America’s economy.