FACT CHECK: Examining Inaccuracies in Senators’ Letter to President Obama

Last week, elected officials sent another letter to President Obama asking him to halt Dakota Access by conducting an Environmental Impact Statement for the entire project route. The letter was penned by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and called the Dakota Access Pipeline “not unlike the Keystone XL pipeline.”

Unfortunately, the letter contained myths about the pipeline.  Notably, three myths that Fact Checker has sought to correct before:

  1. That the Pipeline “Has the potential to cause more damage to sacred land”

Three separate surveys and analyses from the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Judge Boasberg, and the US Army Corps of Engineers found no concrete evidence indicating that there are any culturally sensitive materials in the construction corridor. Moreover, the pipeline follows the route of other projects that also didn’t run through sensitive areas.

  1. That the Pipeline shouldn’t move forward “Until there has been meaningful tribal consultation”

It has been well documented that there has been more than appropriate tribal consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux. The US Army Corps had nearly 400 meetings on cultural survey results with Native groups, reviewed the 180 filings submitting by Native groups across four states, and had 11 meetings with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe specifically—and were even denied 7 additional times. While the MAIN Coalition applauds the increase of tribal involvement on future projects, the Dakota Access Pipeline met the current guidelines.

  1. That the Pipeline requires “a complete environmental and cultural review has been completed for the entire project”

The Dakota Access Pipeline fully met all assessments and permitting necessary to construct this project and was approved after lengthy environmental review. The process is upheld by existing law which the company follow to a tee. This process was approved by a federal judge and the again by a separate court.