Former Regulator: Pipeline Exceeds Requirements

The former head of the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials was in North Dakota Wednesday to inspect the Dakota Access pipeline. Brigham McCown said he cannot recall a case where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ever withdrew permits that were validly issued, and he believes the manner of that withdrawal should give everyone pause.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Morton County Commission Cody Schulz pushed back on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to further review the pipeline’s crossing at Lake Oahe, saying the federal agency is endangering everyone involved, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe announced a media event at the Oceti Sakowin camp on Friday. The event is to include tours of the camp and interviews with a variety of celebrities and influencers, as well as 25 of the youth water protectors who met with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama when the two visited the tribe in 2014.

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The Dakota Access Debate Has Grown Out of Proportion

The Washington Post recently published a supportive opinion editorial from former Senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) and Daryl Owen of Owen Associates which examined how the protest and activity over the Dakota Access pipeline has grown of proportion.

From violent protest activity to millions of dollars of damage to equipment and even disturbing death threats to employees – the tactics being deployed against the project are unseemly and unnecessary.

In the column, Johnston and Owen highlight efforts of sabotage against operational pipelines across the country and the danger that such actions can create. They write that the protests are no longer about opposition to the project, but rather a new tool in the effort to stop the development and use of fossil fuels.

In addition to examining the true nature of the protest and the violence ensuing, Johnston and Owen highlight that, “[t]his is, after all, a pipeline project,” and not simply the first of which would cross the Missouri River – it would be one of dozens that do so carrying American energy products. The final piece of the puzzle, is as they say, “part and parcel of a river-crossing permit the pipeline has already received. It is a simple ministerial action authorizing the pipeline to cross beneath federal lands and, for want of a simple signature by an Army Corps bureaucrat, would finalize the process. By arbitrarily refusing to follow the law, the Justice Department has placed a lawfully permitted, vital $4 billion infrastructure project into suspended animation.”

The authors also note that the tribe who has sought to stall the project “largely refused to engage in [the] consultations” after much inquiry – a fact echoed by a federal court judge who reviewed the Army Corps findings and determinations. Johnston and Owen write that “there is much to be discussed and much to be regretted about the past 150 years of U.S.-tribal relations. But a real estate document for a pipeline river crossing seems hardly the pretext to do so.”

The Administration and Federal Government’s decision to withhold the final piece of multi-billion dollar project, in Owen and Johnston’s own words, it sends “a chilling message to the private sector about the rule of law as it relates to infrastructure development.”

It is simply unacceptable that the Federal Government has continued to delay the completion of this project – after all, their approval was already granted in July of this year. The fact remains, a single 1,000 foot section of an 1100 mile project, is currently held up by opponents who have already stated their mission is far greater than the Dakota Access Pipeline – but simply to withhold the development of America’s energy future.




Senators’ Letter Rejects the Facts

A letter sent by Oregon Senators Wyden and Merkley, addressed to President Obama regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline, show just how out of touch these members appear to be with the realities of the permitting and planning process for energy infrastructure projects, and with the on the ground realities of the brutal and illegal actions of anti-pipeline protesters.

To summarize; the letter from Senators Wyden and Merkley argues that the planning process for the project had “three major shortcomings.” The first there was inadequate consultations with the SRST “on the impacts to their historic and cultural land;” second, the Corps utilized an inappropriate permitting process; and third, there was a failure to conduct environmental review. The letter also  notes that the concerns with the Nationwide Permit 12 process and argues that because of the pre-approval process in the NWP 12, that there was no public notice or comment period for the overall project or an EIS. The letter also states, in their opinion, that the environmental review was not thorough enough and that concerns from EPA, DOI, and ACHP were disregarded.  Finally, it notes the right of the protesters to “peacefully protest,” and does not include mention of the actions by the protesters but rather the “militarized police response.”

Today the word of the year was announced, false-truth.

We can think of nothing better to describe the gross inaccuracies described by this letter to the President. Once again we see a pattern of ignored realities.

Dakota Access, as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted hundreds of outreach meetings and consultations with Native American tribes, many of which the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe simply refused to participate in. The State of North Dakota also held three separate public input hearings that were well publicized throughout the state that the tribe did not participate in.

Regardless of the Senators concerns with the Nationwide 12 permitting process, the entirely legal process was followed by the various federal agencies who have oversight of the permitting process. Following the issuance of an finding of no significant impact in an over 1,200 page environmental assessment studied over two years by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project was permitted to move forward on federal lands. That decision was upheld by the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia as well as the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senators might have their own opinions, but these are not the basis of federal law. Political opinions, like those of the Senators of members of the Obama Administration, should remain just that, while federal laws should be followed according to the letter of the law; including the permits released under Nationwide 12.

Finally, once again we see Washington politicians rejecting the overwhelming evidence of violent acts towards members of the law enforcement community, who have pleaded for federal assistance. Instead, the Senators decided to side with protesters who have already committed the following illegal acts:  set firesslaughtered livestockfired at gun at law enforcement officersburned a bridge, terrorized journalists, and repeatedly trespassed on private property.

Statements from Members of Congress on Corps Indecision and Further Delay of DAPL

North Dakota Senator Hoeven issued a strong rebuke yesterday evening on the Corps decision to further delay the Dakota Access Pipeline and acknowledged the careful examination of the project by the agency and need to approve the project immediately. In addition, House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop indicated the facts surrounding the project have not changed and that it is time to approve the project.

Hoeven: Corps Should Issue The Dapl Easement And Resolve The Pipeline Situation In N.D.
U.S. John Hoeven, November 14, 2016

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement in response to the Army Corps of Engineers’ announcement that it will further delay issuing a final easement that would allow construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to be completed:

“The Corps today announced it will further delay issuing an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. That will only prolong the disruption in the region caused by protests and make life difficult for everyone who lives and works in the area.

“U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled in September that the Corps has done its due diligence, and he allowed the project to proceed. Furthermore, the pipeline is sited in an existing right-of-way that already includes a natural gas pipeline and a high-voltage transmission line. The route has been altered 141 times to address sites of archaeological significance.

“The solution now is for the Corps to grant an easement for the project so that life can return to normal for our farmers, ranchers, tribal members and law enforcement officers, who have worked very hard to protect the lives and property of all. Further, I will continue to call on the Obama administration to provide federal resources and funding to help ensure public safety.”

The senator has been working to support state and local law enforcement efforts, which include bringing in additional law enforcement resources through EMAC, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, so that people living in the region feel safe and private property rights are protected. Hoeven and the congressional delegation have also been working to bring federal resources to assist local law enforcement in their efforts to keep the peace and deal with the protests.

Bishop: Dakota Access Delays Jeopardize Future Infrastructure Investment and Development
House Natural Resources Committee, November 15, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 15, 2016 – Yesterday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced they will begin another round of discussions and analysis on the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) project with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Energy Transfer Partners and Dakota Access, LLC. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:

“From the beginning of this controversy, the Obama administration exploited Native Americans to advance an obstructionist and radical environmental agenda.

“The facts haven’t changed. The route was approved the first time around after an exhaustive permitting process under the established regulatory framework, including the Mineral Leasing Act. The president’s increasingly autocratic interventions create massive uncertainty that jeopardizes future infrastructure investment and development. This is a mockery of our constitutional system and beyond the pale for any administration. Americans are counting down the days until we can return a semblance of certainty and professionalism to the federal government’s permitting process.”

Governors Urge Army Corps to Issues Dakota Access Easement

Governors Urge Army Corps to Issues Dakota Access Easement


Earlier this week, the governors of Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to adhere to the regulatory process and issue the final easement necessary to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In the Oct. 25 letter, the three governors highlighted that more than 96 percent of the 1,172 mile infrastructure project has already been thoroughly vetted and approved by state utility regulators. Furthermore, the governors noted that Dakota Access has satisfied all of the established federal requirements needed to move forward.

“As governors of three states which the Dakota Access Pipeline route crosses – Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota we write to you today to ask the United States Army Corps of Engineers to adhere to the process which was in place when this project began as you make the decision to issue the final federal easement required for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Missouri River in North Dakota,” the governors wrote

They went on to caution that further delays will likely result in negative impacts to their states and the region. “Construction delays will negatively impact landowners and farmers who will risk having multiple growing seasons impacted by construction activities,” they wrote. It is in the best interest of all parties to mitigate any further negative impacts.”

The letter—signed by Govs. Terry E. Branstad of Iowa, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, and Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota—is the latest of in a series of recent high-profile calls for the Army Corps and the Obama administration to allow this critical infrastructure project to be completed.

Dakota Access Nears Finish Line in North Dakota

Construction work on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is nearing the finish line in North Dakota according to a progress report posted by Public Service Commission (PSC).

According to the Bismarck Tribune, DAPL’s September construction report shows that 87 percent of the project has been completed in North Dakota. The project, which currently employs more than 8,000 hardworking men and women, made significant progress in September despite daily accounts of unlawful, illegal behavior at worksites across the state. Earlier in the week, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) told state regulators that a majority construction and testing in North Dakota should be complete by the end of October.

Work on the pipeline is nearing completion along the rest of the four-state route as well. In Iowa, Sheldon-based 1550 KIWA-AM reported solid progress across the 18 counties traversed by the project and an article in South Dakota characterized DAPL as being nearly complete.

Build North Dakota Campaign Brings Key Voice to Dakota Access Debate

Member of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) are weighing into the Dakota Access Pipeline debate with a new radio campaign featuring the men and women building it. The Build North Dakota initiative aims to highlight the countless opportunities this project is providing to thousands of skilled Laborers and the quality of work they’re delivering.

“We’ve heard a lot of people offer their opinion on the Dakota Access Pipeline, but what’s missing from the conversation are the perspectives of the people who are living it every day: the landowners whose land the pipeline crosses, and the workers who are building it,” according to LIUNA Local 563 Business Agent and career pipeliner Cory Bryson.

Dakota Access has long committed to utilizing union labor and currently employs more than 8,000 skilled members from LiUNA and an array of different trades, including the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and United Association.

“Hundreds of our members are giving it their all to make sure this pipeline is built safe, and built the right way,” said Bryson. “We want people in North Dakota and beyond to understand what we do, and how seriously we take our work.”

Listen to what some of LiUNA’s members have to say by visiting

The Myths and Facts Behind the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Claims

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has made many accusations toward Dakota Access and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that just aren’t true. We’ve debunked many other claims as false, and discovered that hundreds of consultations were held on the pipeline project with Native American tribes and nations. Here are a few more of the myths being spread, and the real facts behind them. 


The more you look, the more you realize that the claims of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their radical environmental allies at EarthJustice don’t add up.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and public discourse is important on a project of this scale. But after nearly two years of thorough review and final approval by multiple state and federal regulatory agencies, the time has come to construct the pipeline.

Native American Tribes Were Consulted Throughout Pipeline Review Process

It’s a popular claim of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that there was “no meaningful consultation” with Native American Tribes and Nations regarding the placement of the Dakota Access Pipeline. But like many other claims, this just simply isn’t true. 


In fact, the United States Government, through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had 389 meetings and contacts with Native American tribes according to an exhibit filed as a part of the USACE Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

So which Native American tribes and nations were included in these contacts? Take a look at the long list of those consulted. Notice a familiar name? That’s right, The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is listed and was contacted as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers comprehensive review. Despite their claims to the contrary tribes were contacted and consulted multiple times throughout the review process.

“Our tribe has opposed the Dakota Access pipeline since we first learned about it in 2014… permits for the project were approved and construction began without meaningful consultation.” (Dave Archamabult, “Taking a Stand at Standing Rock” New York Times Op-Ed, 8/24/16)

The more you look, the more it seems the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is just looking for the best narrative to state their case, rather than presenting the real facts behind their case.

This is the reality: the Dakota Access Pipeline was approved by numerous state and federal organizations in consultation with Native American tribal officers and historic preservation experts.