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.”
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.
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.
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.
Law enforcement officers and activated guardsmen from across North Dakota deserve a great deal of thanks as unlawful protests continue against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
They aren’t part of either side of the debate, yet they have been the most impacted by the two months of turmoil in southern Morton County.
They should know how much we appreciate and respect their efforts. Law enforcement officers from other communities still meet the needs of their hometowns and both they and their families sacrifice when they help in Morton County. Similarly, guardsmen have left jobs and families too, and their employers deserve our thanks too. Those who live in Morton and Burleigh counties face the extra hours, dangers of policing, and the extra concern for their families living nearby.
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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.
Obviously, the 1,172-mile pipeline, which will carry much-needed domestic crude oil from North Dakota oil fields to a terminal in Illinois, has stirred passionate reactions among a small minority of neighbors. What is remarkable is that so few have objected to this project that spans 50 counties in four states.
In fact, the pipeline is 77 percent complete at a cost of $3 billion.
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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.
ST. ANTHONY — On a clear, blue-sky day in October, seven or eight protesters showed up in the middle of Jared Ernst’s alfalfa field, unloading their horses without so much as a “by your leave.” Ernst went over to ask them what they were doing in his alfalfa field and was told they were here for the Dakota Access protest. Ernst told them that was fine, but he didn’t want them trampling his hay field.
“This is treaty ground,” Ernst says the older gentleman replied, “and you don’t have a right to be here.”
Two younger men ambled up, meanwhile, swinging lariats as they came.
Ernst turned slightly to make sure everyone could see the revolver at his hip. At that point the older gentleman waved the two younger ones away, and the seven or eight protesters left Ernst’s field. Ernst said plates on the vehicles identified them as from a reservation in South Dakota.
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In Morton County, North Dakota, law enforcement is putting their lives on the line to provide public safety, enforce the rule of law, and protect protesters who exercise their First Amendment rights in a peaceful and prayerful way.
They have been called to action in response to large-scale unrest over a proposed pipeline that is to be built on what protesters believe is sacred Native American land. The Dakota Access Pipeline, which is already more than two-thirds completed, is a $3.7 billion project that would create between 8,000 to 12,000 construction jobs and would transport oil from North Dakota to southern Illinois. In August, protests by Native American groups halted construction, but only temporarily. Today, work continues on all private land up to the Missouri River despite the Obama administration requesting the company in charge to voluntarily hold construction.
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How did the out-of-state activists protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline arrive at the North Dakota site? How were the sleeping bags they will use when the high plains winter arrives manufactured and shipped to the stores at which they were purchased? What are the plastics made of in the phones they have been using at Standing Rock, N.D.?
Many things make the global economy possible, but a major one, unfortunately, continues to be oil. The world is addicted to crude because it is energy dense and easy to transport. Practically nothing modern Americans do — including protesting an oil pipeline — would be possible without it. This inescapable fact means that demand for the stuff is huge. And if there is a market for a product, suppliers will attempt to meet that demand, in all sorts of ways. In and around North Dakota, that has meant sucking it from underground shale formations and transporting it out of the area by truck and train. Pipeline transport would make it safer.
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