Today’s decision is yet another attempt at death by delay and is a stunning rebuke of the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal civil service, four state governments, and the rule of law. This extrajudicial, political decision is exactly why hard-working Americans across the country rejected a third Obama term. By its own review and admission, the Army Corps of Engineers did everything right. Americans expect their government to play by the rules – and this is just another example of the Obama Administration using its perceived authority to drive a political agenda.
Now the Secretary of the Army’s office is requiring even more consultations: why? The Corps consulted with 55 Native American tribes, including the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, nearly 400 times. The Standing Rock Sioux ignored or canceled further requests for meetings from the government and the pipeline construction company. There is no disagreement from the government or the federal court that the Corps and the company did everything right. So rather than finalize the already approved easement, the Administration has chosen to further fan the flames of protest by more inaction.
The pipeline – at no point – crosses the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s reservation, is collocated with a three-decades old natural gas pipeline, and has received all requisite state and federal approvals. The only remaining piece of the 1,172 mile puzzle was the final easement for a 1,000 foot portion abutting Lake Oahe. There is no reasonable logical, factual, or scientific reason for it not to be issued.
Additionally, we are dumbfounded and heartsick for the dozens of Army Corps and career civil service personnel who worked tirelessly for more than 800 days to ensure they fully met the letter and spirit of the law in approving the 37 miles of the pipeline route the federal government has oversight over.
With President-Elect Trump set to take office in 67 days, we are hopeful that this is not the final word on the Dakota Access Pipeline.