The US Army Corps of Engineers filed a brief on Tuesday detailing the lengthy approval process for the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Corps concluded that the pipeline’s consultation process met all regulatory guidelines and followed the letter of the law. Specifically, Corps lawyers noted that the project’s approval did not violate the Clean Water Act, National Historic Preservation Act or National Environmental Policy Act.
The brief denies numerous allegations and dismisses some as “vague and ambiguous.”
According to the brief, “Defendant admits that there are historic sites, such as an earthlodge village and a cemetery located approximately 1.2 miles from the [Lake Oahe] site in Morton County, North Dakota, that are outside the permit area but in the general vicinity of the Dakota Access Pipeline route.”
On the allegation of improper cultural surveying, “To the extent the allegations are inconsistent with the cultural resource surveys completed by Dakota Access, they are denied…Defendant admits that Dakota Access hired consultants and that at least some of those consultants were from out-of-state and were not tribal members. The remaining allegations in the second and third sentences of Paragraph 52 consist of vague and ambiguous characterizations, which require no response. To the extent a response is required, Defendant lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations.”
On allegations of lack of permitting verifications, “Defendant admits that, on July 25, 2016, the Corps issued NWP 12 verifications for 200 locations in four states for which verification had been requested along the Dakota Access Pipeline route. Defendant also admits that, on July 25, 2016, the Corps issued 33 U.S.C. § 408 permissions for three locations in two states for which NWP 12 verification had been requested along the Dakota Access Pipeline’s route.”