February 08, 2017

Wyden and Other Senate, House Natural Resource Leaders Blast Dakota Access Pipeline Decision, Stand up for Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Rights

Washington, D.C. – In a letter to the president, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., joined other members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources to blast the administration’s approval of a final easement to build the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and its failure to undertake meaningful consultation with Native American tribes.

“This blatant disregard for federal law and our country’s treaty and trust responsibilities to Native American tribes is unacceptable. We strongly oppose this decision and any efforts to undermine tribal rights,” the members of Congress wrote in the letter. “We urge you to immediately reverse this decision and follow the appropriate procedures required for tribal consultation, environmental law, and due process.”

The Army Corps of Engineers announced yesterday it had completed the review of the pipeline and had granted a final easement to Dakota Access LLC, allowing the final segment of the pipeline to be completed. The decision circumvents appropriate consultation with Native American Tribes and the Army Corps’ environmental review process.

The pipeline is projected to carry 500,000 barrels of oil underneath the Missouri River per day. The oil crosses the river at Lake Oahe, just a half mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Lake Oahe and the Missouri provide drinking water for the tribe and the surrounding regions, as well as providing habitat for fish and wildlife. Significantly, the lake is also a sacred site for the Standing Rock Sioux, playing an important role in sacred ceremonies.

In addition to Wyden, signing the letter are Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources Raúl M. Grijalva, AZ-3, Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., VA-08, Rep. A. Donald McEachin, VA-4, and Rep. Jared Huffman, CA-2.


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