Administration’s tribal negotiations are for prospective projects, not Dakota Access

Recently, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Army announced a schedule for tribal consultations regarding consultations with Native American tribes on future infrastructure projects:

“Recent events have highlighted the need for a broader review and consultation as to how, prospectively, Federal decision-making on infrastructure projects can better allow for timely and meaningful tribal input. On behalf of the Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and other Federal agencies, we invite you to consultations on how the Federal Government can better account for, and integrate tribal views, on future infrastructure decisions throughout the country.”

In a statement, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman Dave Archambault II affirmed, “Along with the ongoing review of this pipeline, the Administration has taken a major step forward by initiating consultation on nationwide reform on the protection of tribal interests regarding infrastructure projects. We will continue to advocate for the protection of our water, lands and sacred places, and the necessary respect as Indigenous Peoples.”

The Chairman’s statement, as well as that of the three federal agencies, both acknowledge that any new future review process will not involve the Dakota Access pipeline.

The MAIN Coalition agrees that tribal consultations should continue to play an important role in prospective infrastructure development. However, these new discussions should not impact, retroactively, any ongoing infrastructure project or any infrastructure project that is currently under review for permitting.