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 . This 35-page analysis of the environmental and legal concerns associated with construction of the pipeline through the reservation was pulled by the two days before President Trump ordered the to issue an allowing to resume construction. According to Acting Secretary of the Interior , 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 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.
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 Canada. An earlier plan would have placed its path just north of , but this route was rejected because of potential danger to the city’s water supply.reserves, which have become exploitable due to the development of technology, through Illinois to refineries. It must cross the , an interstate waterway to do so, which places the project under the U.S. federal government’s jurisdiction rather than state jurisdiction. Unlike the , the Dakota Access Pipeline does not involve
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