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Army Corps to Grant Permit for Completion of Dakota Access Pipeline

Elections have consequences. Per a Jan. 24 executive memo, the Army Corps of Engineers indicated that it will grant Dakota Access LLC the final permit to tunnel under the Missouri River and complete the controversial pipeline.
February 9, 2017, 9am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Tony Webster

The most recent news about the Dakota Access Pipeline follows President Trump's Jan. 24 memorandum "to review and approve in an expedited manner the pipeline," effectively nullifying the Dec. 4, 2016 action by the Army Corps to deny Energy Transfer Partnersparent company of Dakota Access LLC, and "advising them to explore alternative routing and conduct an environmental review, granting indigenous peoples a rare victory."

"The Army’s intention to grant a 30-year easement under North Dakota’s Lake Oahe [a reservoir formed by a dam on the Missouri River] was immediately hailed by congressional Republicans and decried by members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other opponents," report Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis for The Washington Post.

In addition to granting the permit, the Army Corps of Engineers filed documents "with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia... that they were terminating a plan to prepare an environmental-impact statement on how the pipeline would affect land and water along its 1,170-mile route," add Eilperin and Dennis.

Construction cannot begin until the easement is granted, which Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Paul D. Cramer wrote will be given to the project’s sponsor Energy Transfer Partners no later than Wednesday [Feb. 8] afternoon. The company declined to comment Tuesday.

The section of the project running underneath Lake Oahe is one of the final parts to be built, and it could be operational between 60 and 80 days after construction starts.

The Standing Rock Tribe and their allies declared they would "defy the federal government," add Eilperin and Dennis.

"The environmental impact statement was wrongfully terminated," said Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II in a statement Tuesday. "This pipeline was unfairly rerouted across our treaty lands. The Trump administration — yet again — is poised to set a precedent that defies the law and the will of Americans and our allies around the world.”

Sally Jewell, the former Secretary of the Interior, expressed extreme disappointment with the Army's actions, charging that they were "'reneging' on its commitment to other federal agencies and tribal leaders to conduct a thorough environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline before granting an easement to the project’s sponsor," reports Eilperin on Feb. 8.

Hat tip to Gary Lasky.

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Published on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 in The Washington Post - Energy and Environment
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