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MAIN Coalition Statement Regarding Dakota Access Easement Decision

Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to further delay the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In response, MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens said the following:

“Today’s decision is yet another attempt at death by delay and is a stunning rebuke of the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal civil service, four state governments, and the rule of law.  This extrajudicial, political decision is exactly why hard-working Americans across the country rejected a third Obama term.  By its own review and admission, the Army Corps of Engineers did everything right.  Americans expect their government to play by the rules – and this is just another example of the Obama Administration using its perceived authority to drive a political agenda.

Now the Secretary of the Army’s office is requiring even more consultations: why?  The Corps consulted with 55 Native American tribes, including the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, nearly 400 times.  The Standing Rock Sioux ignored or canceled further requests for meetings from the government and the pipeline construction company.  There is no disagreement from the government or the federal court that the Corps and the company did everything right.  So rather than finalize the already approved easement, the Administration has chosen to further fan the flames of protest by more inaction.

The pipeline – at no point – crosses the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s reservation, is collocated with a three-decades old natural gas pipeline, and has received all requisite state and federal approvals.  The only remaining piece of the 1,172 mile puzzle was the final easement for a 1,000 foot portion abutting Lake Oahe.  There is no reasonable logical, factual, or scientific reason for it not to be issued.

Additionally, we are dumbfounded and heartsick for the dozens of Army Corps and career civil service personnel who worked tirelessly for more than 800 days to ensure they fully met the letter and spirit of the law in approving the 37 miles of the pipeline route the federal government has oversight over.

With President-Elect Trump set to take office in 67 days, we are hopeful that this is not the final word on the Dakota Access Pipeline.”


Kelcy Warren Sets Record Straight on Dakota Access, Again

Today, a letter by Kelcy Warren, the chairman of the Dakota Access Pipeline’s parent company Energy Transfer Partners, surfaced in response to an Oct. 26 letter, which contained a litany of factually incorrect statements made by the Indigo Girls and multiple other leading folk music artists. The musical groups have attempted to use false information about the pipeline to politicize their participation in Warren’s popular charity event to help children’s organizations.

In Warren’s letter, he states, “Your letter reinforces the reality that DAPL has become a source of contention among some of the Native American community and environmental activists. However, the deliberate misinformation that has been disseminated via online outlets and social media and by those speaking to the media without regard for the truth is troubling. The misinformation intentionally omits the real facts about DAPL, the approval and careful permitting processes over the last four years and the significant efforts undertaken by ETP to be good stewards of natural resources.”

Warren goes on to outline the facts about Dakota Access, including that the pipeline does not cross the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, was approved by state and federal agencies, and was subject to an extensive consultation process.

“During the planning process for the project, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe rejected numerous overtures from a number of agencies and from Energy Transfer to directly participate in the dialogue concerning DAPL, however, the tribe did meet with the Army Corp on a number of occasions and ultimately a route was specifically chosen to avoid the tribe’s land in North Dakota.”

In closing, Warren underscores Energy Transfer Partners’ and Dakota Access’ commitment to environmental stewardship, while also recognizing that fossil fuels continue to play a pivotal role in everyday life.

Read Warren’s full letter here.


MAIN Statement In Advance Of Planned Day of Protest

In advanced of a planned day of protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline throughout the world, MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement:

“We understand that there are the strong emotions on both sides of the DAPL issue and certainly respect the rights of all citizens to be heard in this important policy discussion. However, while we support and defend the tenets of the Constitution’s First Amendment, we also respect the tenets of the rest of the Constitution and our nation’s laws. The Dakota Access Pipeline was fully vetted and and approved under the laws and regulations of four states and the federal government.  Even the 1,000 feet of the project that is under review has already been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers.  In order to live in an orderly society, one that promotes peace along with economic development, the rule of law must be respected.

If individuals believe that laws and regulations need to be changed, there is a rightful process for that – for example the ongoing discussions between the Department of Interior and Native American tribes on prospective infrastructure projects.  But we must not and cannot retroactively impact ongoing or already approved projects because of a vocal protest; not only is that un-American, but it would also send the wrong message to institutions – companies, lenders, and others – seeking to invest in private infrastructure development.

It’s past time for the President to lift the hold on the Dakota Access Pipeline and issue the final, already approved easement.”


Former PHMSA Administrator Discredits Activist-Funded Study on Dakota Access

The former head of the federal government’s top pipeline safety watchdog is challenging the findings of recent analysis of the Dakota Access Pipeline authored by pay-for-play consultant Richard Kuprewicz and funded by Earthjustice.

Brigham McCown, a former head of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and current advisor to the MAIN Coalition, refuted many of Kuprewicz’s assumptions and questions the overall manner in which the analysis was conducted.

“My concerns with Mr. Kuprewicz’s report include a lack of understanding and respect for accepted methodology, inferring that an absence of risk is demonstrative of risk, and the inability to accept the importance of the safe transportation of America’s energy,” McCown wrote. “The overall Kuprewicz report runs directly counter to best practices, does not keep with accepted norms, and should not be relied upon when discussing the Dakota Access Pipeline Project.”

McCown proceeds to detail and correct the myriad of errors and false assumptions that Kuprewicz made, including the lack of scientifically accepted methodology, using absence of risk to indicate risk, and disregard for the necessity of petroleum-based resources.

After reviewing both the Army Corps Environmental Assessment and the Earthjustice assessment, McCown concluded that the, “Earthjustice report lacks credibility and was, from its conception, a report designed to undermine confidence in the Dakota Access Pipeline Project as opposed to a paper realistically designed to review the government’s work and decision to fully permit the project.”

Click here to read McCown’s full review.


Pipeline Safety An Important Component In America’s Energy Revolution

The Dakota Access Pipeline is much more than a piece of rolled steel laid beneath the soil.

Thanks to the inclusion of many advanced technologies, the Dakota Access Pipeline will be one of the most advanced pieces of energy infrastructure constructed to date.

Remote shutoff valves, controlled from a central command center have the capability to isolate any section of the over 1,100 mile pipeline within minutes, while pressure and temperature sensors provide accurate readings that help pipeline operators get a full picture of the pipe’s integrity. The pipeline will be monitored 24/7, 365 days a year. Additionally, the pipeline will be flown by air on a regular basis to check for any irregularities not caught by monitoring systems.

This type of advanced energy infrastructure, constructed with American labor, is a cornerstone of America’s 21st century energy revolution. The completion of this project is integral to moving away from a dependence on foreign energy and a revitalization of America’s energy economy.


Army Corps of Engineers To Announce Easement Decision “In Matter of Days”

Today Capital Alpha reported that U.S. District Court Justice James Boasberg held a status hearing to discuss the Dakota Access Pipeline lawsuit, Standing Rock Sioux v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

During the meeting, Army Corps counsel Matthew Marinelli said that the Corps “will announce next steps or a path forward” on the easement “within a matter of days.” When pressed about whether that would be a yes/no decision on the easement by Boasberg, Marinelli declined to elaborate.

Following a significant period of time already spent on review, the Corps of Engineers should feel confident in their original assessment of no significant impact and approve the final easement so construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline can be completed.


Frustration Mounting Over Destructive Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

An increasing number of North Dakota residents are speaking out against the destructive Dakota Access Pipeline protests that continue to wreak havoc on otherwise peaceful communities. Flip to the opinion section of any Bismarck-area newspaper and it becomes abundantly clear that readers are tired of the chaos and tired of being ignored by the media.

“Fairy tales are alive and well in North Dakota,” wrote Jeremy Finch in a letter to the editor posted by the Grand Forks Herald. “Despite the facts, some media outlets spun the narrative into the realm of make believe,” he added.

Finch also pointed out that even members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, including Robert Fool Bear Sr., district chairman of Cannon Ball, are speaking out against the protest. “[Fool Bear] not only asks that “protesters go home” but criticizes the tribal chairman for refusing to demand this departure,” Finch wrote.

In a separate letter published by the Bismarck Tribune, reader Ray Daly scolded religious leaders for ignoring the reality on the ground and instead smearing local enforcement. “If you do not wish to practice what Scripture says, then that is your choice,” he wrote. “But, please do the citizens of North Dakota one big favor. Stop slapping our law enforcement agencies across the face. They do not deserve it.”

All of this comes as protesters admitted to the Williston Herald that grass fires were intentionally set as in an effort to obstruct authorities. The Herald also noted the little regard out-of-state activists have shown for farmers and ranchers who rely on their land to make a living.

“Many protesters have rallied around care of the environment, and it’s frustrating to us in the agriculture community when we look at how many examples of their activities have been anything but respectful of the environment,” said Julia Ellingson, vice president of the North Dakota Stockman’s Association.


Grand Forks Herald Published Op-Ed From MAIN Coalition

In a supportive opinion piece that both corrected false claims made by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and highlighted the benefits of the Dakota Access Pipeline project was published today in the Grand Forks Herald.

 In the op-ed, MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens writes, “Protests of the long overdue and nearly completed Dakota Access Pipeline are growing despite the mountains of evidence showing that the wrongs alleged by angry demonstrators simply never happened.”

In fact, project leaders and regulators participated over 550 meetings with community leaders, elected officials, and organizations in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. Members of the public had ample opportunity to comment for public record, and in many cases opponents of the project were never present.

Now as claims emerge that the pipeline was “fast-tracked,” Mr. Stevens contends “Furthermore, the records show that the Corps did not “fast track” the pipeline’s approval. On the contrary, the court concluded that the Corps properly approved all construction projects over which it had jurisdiction and at times went the extra mile (again) to address tribal concerns. The Corps’ handing of Dakota Access Pipeline permits has now been upheld by two federal courts. After sifting through years’ worth of federal and tribal records, four federal judges found no evidence to support any of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s claims.”


MAIN Coalition Spokesman Publishes Column On Medium

In a column featured on Medium by MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens, a clear pattern of ignored realities by the Obama Administration becomes readily apparent as future construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline remains halted by the federal government.

Mr. Stevens writes, “During the eight weeks since the Obama Administration put a freeze on issuing the final easement for the Dakota Access pipeline — a 1,000 foot portion of the 1,172 mile project — the emotionally charged situation on the ground in North Dakota has been fueled by rampant mischaracterizations of law enforcement activities and gross errors of fact on the pipeline itself.”

We’ve documented these mischaracterizations before, but what stands out in the Medium post is that through the vast majority of the nearly two years of review, hundreds of consultations were held with the tribes now constituting the majority of anti-pipeline protesters, and both the federal and state governments approved construction of the project.

To indicate, as the protesters do, that there was no consultation, that there was no process, and that there was no representation is a bold faced lie. The facts are out there, though they have often gone unreported. But as violence in North Dakota continues to escalate, we can only continue to urge that cooler heads prevail, that law and order is restored, and that the legal process that permitted construction is affirmed after two years of review and construction is finally completed.

 


Local Community Rallies Around Morton County Law Enforcement

It has become evident that the situation in Morton County has created a stress on public safety officers and financial resources greater than anyone could have anticipated three months ago.

In this situation, the local community has come together to support the men and women who are protecting private property as well as those working on the lawful construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In support, residents have started a GoFundMe account called the “Morton County Heroes Fund,” designed to support law enforcement and ranchers affected by the protests. Wayne Papke of Mandan, who started the account, has begun to receive funds from donors around the country, and is working with farming organizations to help ranchers with the cost of livestock that has been lost, slaughtered, or gone missing in the midst of the protest chaos.

Local residents aren’t the only ones who are thankful, in an open-letter from the labor community pipeline workers thanked members of law enforcement who are protecting their right to a safe workplace. In the letter Cory Bryson of Bismarck wrote, “Every North Dakotan deserves the right to feel safe at home, at work, and in the communities where we live.”