Easement Grant For The Dakota Access Pipeline Proves A Tough Blow To Native Americans And Environmentalists Everywhere

After months of impassioned protests by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members in North Dakota and a swarm of supporters from around the country, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has announced its approval of the final permit necessary for the continued construction and operation of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

A federal agency operating under the Department of Defense, The USACE is on record as being charged with “investigating, developing and maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources.”

Energy Transfer Partners, the company responsible for building the pipeline cited that, with this action, they now have “received all federal authorizations necessary to proceed expeditiously to complete construction of the pipeline.”

And, according to company spokesperson Vicki Granado, work is scheduled to begin “immediately.”

The underground route of the Dakota Access Pipeline is dangerously close to the sacred land of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation.

Among their many concerns, tribe members fear that drilling through the government land at Lake Oahe Dam and Reservoir in North Dakota will severely impact their drinking water as well as the supply of water for the 17 million people living downstream.

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Executive actions to approve the pipeline, as well as others, were recently signed by President Donald Trump; negating the block previously sanctioned by President Obama’s administration which allowed time for the Army to research alternative locations for the pipeline.

“Trump’s reversal of (President Obama’s) decision continues a historic pattern of broken promises to Indian tribes and a violation of treaty rights,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman, who is representing the tribe on behalf of the non-profit environmental law organization. “Trump and his administration will be held accountable in court.”

An earlier statement released by Greenpeace, implies the new President’s motive in moving forward with the project was to benefit the wealthy.

“We are less than two weeks into this administration, and already Trump has put on full display a blatant disregard for Indigenous sovereignty, public health, and public outcry,” stated the environmental organization. “This decision to smash through the (environmental impact statement) process is nothing but a reward to Trump’s corporate, oil industry cronies.”

Wells Fargo, one of 17 banks which are funding the Dakota access pipeline, recently lost Seattle, Washington and Davis, California as customers; with more cities, likely to follow.

“We have an obligation,” said Wells Fargo’s CEO, Tim Sloan, at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit. “That credit facility was properly vetted and independently reviewed within Wells Fargo. We thought it made sense.”

Supporters of the Dakota access pipeline agree; speculating that the $3.7 billion project would be a much-needed boost in the economy.

According to the developer, the pipeline would generate $156 million in sales and income taxes to state and local governments as well as generate up to 12,000 new construction jobs.

Source: Rainforest Action Network, CNN
Photo Credit: Duluth News Tribune, We Are Change

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