Donald Trump Administration Disregarded Memo that Advised Halting the Dakota Access Pipeline

Trump administration was supplied with and then rejected a memo concluding there was "ample legal reason" to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Donald Trump administration disregarded memo that advised halting the Dakota Access Pipeline

Trump administration disregarded memo that advised halting the Dakota Access Pipeline

According to court documents revealed this week, the Trump administration was supplied with and then rejected a memo concluding there was “ample legal reason” to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This 35-page analysis of the environmental and legal concerns associated with construction of the pipeline through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation was pulled by the U.S. Department of the Interior two days before President Trump ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue an easement allowing Energy Transfer Partners to resume construction. According to Acting Secretary of the Interior K. Jack Haugrud, the memo was suspended February 6 so that it could be reviewed.

“The government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Tribes calls for enhanced engagement and sensitivity to the Tribes’ concerns,” wrote Obama appointee and then-Interior Department Solicitor Hilary C. Tompkins in the memo, which is dated December 4. “The Corps is accordingly justified should it choose to deny the proposed easement.” The same day, then-U.S. President Barack Obama issued an order denying the easement and ordering an investigation of the pipeline project’s environmental impact.

Both decisions were reversed by President Trump during his first week in office. “I believe that construction and operation of lawfully permitted pipeline infrastructure serve the national interest,” he wrote at the time.

Donald Trump administration Dakota Access Pipeline

Energy Transfer Partners CEO, Kelsey Warren dismissed concerns about cultural and environmental damage, stressing that the company had conducted many archeological analyses in with South Dakota historical preservation offices and found “no sacred items along the route.”

The Dakota Access Pipeline has inspired protests going back to 2014 by the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies who believe that placing a pipeline underneath Lake Oahe will put their land and water in danger of contamination. Many of the protesters were forcibly evacuated earlier this week, and dozens were arrested.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is plotted to run about 1200 miles and carry oil collected from North Dakota’s Bakken shale reserves, which have become exploitable due to the development of fracking technology, through Illinois to refineries. It must cross the Missouri River, an interstate waterway to do so, which places the project under the U.S. federal government’s jurisdiction rather than state jurisdiction. Unlike the Keystone XL pipeline, the Dakota Access Pipeline does not involve Canada. An earlier plan would have placed its path just north of Bismarck, North Dakota, but this route was rejected because of potential danger to the city’s water supply.

This article was originally published on Wikinews. Read the original article.

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