Tag Archives: US Army Corps

Delegation seeks settlement of Dakota Access protest costs

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s congressional delegation is calling on President Donald Trump’s administration to address the state’s year-old request for $38 million to cover the cost of policing protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong sent a letter Thursday urging Attorney General William Barr and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to settle the state’s claim, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

North Dakota’s attorney general filed an administrative claim against the Army Corps of Engineers last year, accusing the agency of letting protesters illegally camp on federal land in North Dakota in 2016 and 2017. It also argued the Corps didn’t maintain law and order when thousands gathered to protest the $3.8 billion pipeline built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners.

The pipeline was designed to move North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.

The Corps inaction “required North Dakota to provide a sustained, large-scale public safety response to prevent deaths, and protect property and public safety, including that of the protesters,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wrote in the funding request at the time.

The state delegation is now asking Barr and Shanahan to recognize the state’s public safety response during the prolonged and sometimes violent protests.

Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle declined to comment on the delegation’s letter. The Defense Department also didn’t immediately provide comment.

The delegates’ request came on the same day that a federal appeals court ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by environmental and Native American groups who sought to block construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Opponents of the $8 billion pipeline from Canada to the U.S. have threatened similar protests to those against the Dakota Access pipeline.

By Associated Press, June 12, 2019


Dakota Access Pipeline Put On Hold As U.S. Army Corps Says More Study, Input Needed

Hundreds of people marched peacefully on Sept. 4 to protest the destruction of sacred sites and burial grounds in the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Dallas Goldtooth

Hundreds of people marched peacefully on Sept. 4 to protest the destruction of sacred sites and burial grounds in the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Dallas Goldtooth

Dakota Access Pipeline put on hold as government studies tribe’s concerns

 | Seattle Times, Nov 14, 2016

No easement will be granted to drill under the Missouri River to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline as the feds call for more study of concerns raised by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

In a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the U.S. Army Corps announced Monday that it won’t grant an easement to allow completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline while it looks further into concerns raised by the tribe.

The Corps announced it would set a timeline with the tribe for further consideration of its concerns, including the risk of spills into the Missouri River, the drinking water source for the tribe and more than 17 million people downstream.

Energy Transfer Partners of Dallas Texas has completed the more than 1,100-mile oil pipeline through four states but for the last stage: drilling under the river to finish the pipeline. For that, it needs the easement to cross Corps land.

The Corps set a review schedule “that allows for robust discussion and analysis to be completed expeditiously.”

The tribe has adamantly opposed the pipeline, to protect drinking water and sacred sites in its ancestral lands. Hundreds of people have been camped near the proposed crossing since last April to oppose the pipeline and support the tribe.

Washington tribes, fighting fossil fuel projects, too, have joined in the struggle, traveling to the camps and taking donations.

Energy Transfer Partners could not be reached for comment Monday. The company stated on Election Day that it expected the pipeline to be quickly approved, and that it expected the easement to be in hand as soon as Monday. The announcement was a setback to those expectations.

In a statement Friday, the company said it believes it already has the permission it needs to complete the project, as part of earlier permits. Any grounds given by the Corps for further review “reek of political interference,” the company stated.

If the Corps eventually denies the easement, it won’t be a simple matter of President-elect Donald Trump — an investor in the pipeline project — later granting it, said Jan Hasselman of Earthjustice in Seattle, attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux.

“Do we think they will try to undo any positive decision from the Obama Administration? Yes we expect they will. And we will see them in court,” Hasselman said.

The tribe already has sued to block the project in federal court, declaring risks to the environment were overlooked in the fast-track, piecemeal review of the project. That suit is pending.

The tribe also has demanded an investigation into alleged destruction of sacred sites by the developer within the pipeline easement the day after the tribe recorded the existence of those sites in court documents. “The facts are undisputed and well established that here were sites in the right of way that were destroyed,” Hasselman said.

Federal law prohibits issuance of a permit if a developer intentionally destroys protected sites.

Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in a prepared statement Monday said the decision was cause for hope. “It is clear President Obama is listening,” Archambault said. “Together we can inspire people across America and the globe to honor each other and the Earth we hold sacred … not all of our prayers were answered, but this time, they were heard.”

The pipeline was initially routed north of the capital city of Bismarck, Archambault noted, but rerouted by the company in part because of concerns to protect drinking water intakes. The company’s proposed route now crosses within a half mile of the tribe’s reservation boundary and 10 miles upstream of its drinking water intake.

The tribe’s cause has been taken up by thousands of people and hundreds of tribes, climate activists, environmentalists and supporters of tribal treaty rights around the globe. In response, the state of North Dakota and Morton County Sheriff’s Department have met opponents demonstrating against the pipeline with a police force drawn from eight states, and a response including tear gas, rubber bullets, dogs, pepper spray and more than 460 arrests.

Still, the demonstrations continue. More than 500 people converged on the state capitol Monday to protest the pipeline, the North Dakota Highway Patrol reported.

The patrol’s official seal is an Indian in profile, wearing a war bonnet.