The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have indicated that they are preparing to approve the final easement for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
On Tuesday,the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that they have concluded their review of the Dakota Access Pipeline and plan to approve the final easement under Lake Oahe. The approval could come as early as Wednesday afternoon. The Corps will grant the easement for 30 years. The easement, which has been the center of resistance and conflict since last summer, is slated to go under Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.
In a memo called “Compliance with Presidential Memorandum” and dated Tuesday, a senior Army Civil Works official said he reviewed all actions the corps had taken in studying the pipeline and decided the easement was appropriate.
Deputy Assistant Army Secretary Paul Cramer released a statement declaring that the corps will be granting approval and waiving the standard practice of notifying Congress. “Consistent with the direction in ‘Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline’ dated January 24, 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intends to waive its policy to wait 14 days after Congressional notification before granting an easement under 30 U.S.C. § 185”, Cramer writes. “The Corps intends to execute this easement at a time that is mutually convenient to the Corps and the Company, no earlier than 24 hours following delivery of this notification letter.”
The rejection of the EIS and approval of the easement under Lake Oahe came after President Donald Trump signed executive actions to advance construction on January 24. This decision reverses a previous decision made during the Obama administration which called for exploring alternative routes and conducting an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Beginning January 18, the Corps began collecting public comments regarding the easement. Last Tuesday, Activist Post reported that the secretary of the Army instructed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to grant Energy Transfer Partners the easement.
Following the announcement from the U.S. Army Corps, Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman Dave Archambault II called on Americans to support their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“Americans have come together in support of the Tribe asking for a fair, balanced and lawful pipeline process. The environmental impact statement was wrongfully terminated,” Archambault stated via Facebook. “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.”
The tribal chairman also noted that the tribe “will seek to shut the pipeline operations down” if the Dakota Access Pipeline is completed. Archambault also called for support for a “Native Nations” march on Washington D.C. on March 10. “Our fight is no longer at the North Dakota site itself. Our fight is with Congress and the Trump administration. Meet us in Washington on March 10.”
The Standing Rock Sioux previously said abandoning the study “would amount to a wholly unexplained and arbitrary change based on the president’s personal views and, potentially, personal investments.” Now that the Army Corps is in fact abandoning the study we must wait to see what kind of resistance the Standing Rock Sioux and water protectors mount.
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, noted that President Trump has made no attempt to meet with native representatives since taking office. “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,” said Goldtooth. “Expect mass resistance far beyond what Trump has seen so far.”
This “mass resistance” may include a new set of veterans after an announcement last week that a group of veterans were coming back to Standing Rock to defend the water protectors. “We are committed to the people of Standing Rock, we are committed to nonviolence, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected. That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch,” said Anthony Diggs, a spokesman for Veterans Stand. Diggs told CNBC his group is trying to raise enough funds “to have a larger, solid boots-on-the-ground presence.”
Veterans Stand made their announcement following 76 water protectors who were arrested by the Morton County Sheriff’s office. The water protectors were arrested for crossing onto private property to create a new camp. The “Last Child Camp” was launched on the top of a hill and marked by seven tepees representing seven tribes. The new camp was around a quarter mile from the Oceti Sakowin Camp, just north of the Cannonball River. The Sacred Stone Spirit Camp and Rosebud Camp are located south of the river. The Last Child Camp was created by activists as an attempt to build a camp that represents the original peaceful and prayerful intentions of the Sacred Stone and Oceti camps.
Dallas Goldtooth, son of Tom Goldtooth with Indigenous Environmental Network, posted a video on Facebook calling on water protectors to continue campaigns of divestment, to protest Army Corps of Engineer offices, the banks, and other crucial points around the United States. Goldtooth also called for pipeline opponents to stop the pipeline at all costs, whether or not they can make it to Standing Rock.