FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 7, 2017
Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa, 515-238-6404, [email protected]
Bold Iowa Responds to Army Corps of Engineers Unprecedented Order Canceling Environmental Review of Dakota Access Pipeline
Bold Alliance has so far collected 10,000+ comments from citizens opposed to pipeline for inclusion in Army Corps’ Environmental Impact Statement
Des Moines — Citing President Trump’s Presidential Memorandum from Jan. 24 that aimed to fast-track completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on Feb. 7 in an unprecedented action that it is cancelling the previously-ordered Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the pipeline.
The Corps is expected to issue the last necessary easement within 24 hours to complete construction of the pipeline near Lake Oahe and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lands in North Dakota.
This unprecedented cancelling of an EIS and further Tribal consultation will be challenged in court, with the filing of a motion for a temporary restraining order, and an injunction to halt construction.
“Today’s decision by the Army Corps, acting under the order issued by President Trump to cancel the environmental review and grant Dakota Access an easement shows just how little the President values the democratic process,” said Ed Fallon, Bold Iowa state director. “So much for ‘draining the swamp.’ Mr. Trump has put the worst of his crocodile buddies in charge of that swamp, and they seem determined to do as much damage to our environment as quickly as possible. Today’s decision is discouraging. But if President Trump thinks that the Water Protectors are just going to give up while he and his Big Oil buddies foul our water and planet, he’s got another thing coming.”
The Army Corps previously (under President Obama’s administration) on Jan. 18 issued a Notice of Intent to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement on Dakota Access that would “analyze, at a minimum:”
- Alternative locations for the pipeline crossing the Missouri River;
- Potential risks and impacts of an oil spill, and potential impacts to Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water intakes, and the Tribe’s water, treaty fishing, and hunting rights;
- Information on the extent and location of the Tribe’s treaty rights in Lake Oahe.
- The range of issues, alternatives, and potential impacts may be expanded based on comments received in response to this notice and at public scoping meetings.
Bold Iowa and Bold Alliance have so far collected over 10,000 written comments from citizens calling for the Army Corps to conduct a full Environment Impact Statement of the entire Dakota Access pipeline route through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois — instead of solely focusing on the area near Lake Oahe and Standing Rock.
President Trump’s order and the Army Corps’ action today goes against the established legal process for environmental review, and denies the voices of the 10,000+ citizens who submitted comments through Bold — as well as the more than 100,000 others who have already submitted comments through allied groups like the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Statement from Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network:
“Donald Trump will not build his Dakota Access Pipeline without a fight. The granting of an easement, without any environmental review or tribal consultation, is not the end of this fight — it is the new beginning. Expect mass resistance far beyond what Trump has seen so far.
“The granting of this easement goes against protocol, it goes against legal process, it disregards more than 100,000 comments already submitted as part of the not-yet-completed environmental review process — all for the sake of Donald Trump’s billionaire big oil cronies. And, it goes against the treaty rights of the entire Seven Councils Fires of the Sioux Nations.
“Donald Trump has not met with a single Native Nation since taking office. Our tribal nations and Indigenous grassroots peoples on the frontlines have had no input on this process. We support the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and stand with them at this troubling time.”
# # #