Three separate federal agencies have stepped in and have sided with the Standing Rock Sioux in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation have decided to make a public area to voice their concerns about the $3.78 billion, 1,172-mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline that conglomerate Energy Transfer wants to run through Iowa, Illinois, North and South Dakota.
Each of the agencies sent individual letters during the months of March and April to admonish the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which was about to make a decision about the pipeline, to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment and make an official statement about the findings.
“We are so thankful that the EPA, DOI, and the Advisory Council are requesting a full EIS on the Dakota Access Pipeline and are hoping that the Army Corp of Engineers listens to the request of these agencies and to the Native communities who will be affected by this pipeline,” said LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a landowner who is with the Standing Rock Tribal Historic Preservation Office, made in a statement from the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Expressing concern for the proximity of the pipeline to the upstream water supply of the Reservation, the Interior Department expressed in its letter.
“The routing of a 12- to 30-inch crude oil pipeline in close proximity to and upstream of the Reservation is of serious concern to the Department,” the DOI said in its letter. “When establishing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s permanent homeland, the U.S. reserved waters of sufficient quantity and quality to serve the purposes of the Reservation. The Department holds more than 800,000 acres of land in trust for the Tribe that could be impacted by a leak or spill. Further, a spill could impact the waters that the Tribe and individual tribal members residing in that area rely upon for drinking and other purposes. We believe that, if the pipeline’s current route along the edge of the Reservation remains an option, the potential impact on trust resources in this particular situation necessitates full analysis and disclosure of potential impacts through the preparation of an [Environmental Impact Statement].”
The Advisory council on Historic Preservation was “perplexed by the Corps’ apparent difficulties in consulting with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe,” the ACHP expressed to the Army Corps in a letter that they had listed numerous attempts at dialogue by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe historic preservation officer about a multitude of issues.
“It is troubling to note that the THPO’s letters indicate the Corps took more than seven months to address the tribe’s specific concerns,” the ACHP said.
“It is impressive to see these federal agencies stand up in support of the Standing Rock Lakota Nation and acknowledge tribe’s right to be consulted on any extractive development that impacts lands, water, and peoples within their territory,” said Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
“And although a full EIS is a welcome step to hold Dakota Access accountable, the only way we can truly protect the land and water is by rejecting such dirty oil projects, enacting just transition policy towards renewable energy, and keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”
Finally, other agencies are breaking their silence about DAPL concerns. Hopefully, the pipeline can be stopped. If it wasn’t for the public backlash and the resistance of the water protects the Government agencies may have never spoke up.
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(Article by Jafari Tishomingo)