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Dakota Access Pipeline Halted, DC Reacts

Following Department of Army easement announcement leaders share thoughts

Reactions from federal officials have been pouring in over the past 24 hours since federal officials and the Department of Army announced the denial of permits for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Below are some of those reactions from leaders in D.C.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell: “The thoughtful approach established by the Army today ensures that there will be an in-depth evaluation of alternative routes for the pipeline and a closer look at potential impacts, as envisioned by NEPA. The Army’s announcement underscores that tribal rights reserved in treaties and federal law, as well as Nation-to-Nation consultation with tribal leaders, are essential components of the analysis to be undertaken in the environmental impact statement going forward.”

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-MN4) and co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus: “I applaud the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to conduct a more thorough review of the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. A full environmental impact statement will appropriately consider the significant environmental and cultural concerns raised by the Standing Rock Sioux. Today’s decision also underscores that it is in the best interest of all parties to explore new routes that safeguard the environment and protect tribal sovereignty.

“As the review takes place, I urge the United States Department of Justice to continue to work with the Army Corps of Engineers and the State of North Dakota to ensure that well-being, safety, and constitutional rights of protesters at Standing Rock are protected.

“President Obama’s respect for the sovereignty and traditions of the Standing Rock Sioux and all tribal nations has been a hallmark of his administration. I applaud the ongoing efforts of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice to fully consult with tribal leaders in North Dakota and across Indian country.”

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U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs: “I appreciate the president and the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision today to deny an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing under Lake Oahe in North Dakota and to explore alternate routes. Over the last seven months, thousands of people, including Indian nations from New Mexico and across North America, have demonstrated their deep concern about the lack of consultation by the federal government and the potential environmental hazard this pipeline poses for the water. They have stood up for their rights despite harsh weather and the use of inexcusable violence against them. All New Mexicans know that water is life, and throughout our history we have seen environmental injustices done time and again to Native people. That is one reason many New Mexicans are among the protesters at Standing Rock. The Army Corps of Engineers is right – there is much more work to be done to consult with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and ensure the water is protected. Exploring alternative routes with a full Environmental Impact Statement, while continuing the ongoing discussions with the tribe, is the right step to take.”

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM): “President Obama has just risen to the challenge and listened to all of our voices to reject the current route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. I commend our president for doing the right thing and thank the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the protectors standing in solidarity with them for working so fearlessly for this outcome.”

Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA36): “I am delighted at the denial of the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing at Lake Oahe. I have been calling for this since I visited the Sacred Stone Camp. Today we can celebrate a victory for democracy, the right to self-determination, and all Native American water protectors who through peace and prayer fought to defend their health and cultural heritage. We must remain vigilant and ensure any future plan includes meaningful consultation with tribes.”

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND): “It’s long past time that a decision is made on the easement going under Lake Oahe. This administration’s delay in taking action — after I’ve pushed the White House, Army Corps, and other federal agencies for months to make a decision – means that today’s move doesn’t actually bring finality to the project. The pipeline still remains in limbo. The incoming administration already stated its support for the project and the courts have already stated twice that it appeared the Corps followed the required process in considering the permit. For the next month and a half, nothing about this project will change. For the immediate future, the safety of residents, protesters, law enforcement, and workers remains my top priority as it should for everyone involved. As some of the protesters have become increasingly violent and unlawful, and as North Dakota’s winter has already arrived – with a blizzard raging last week through the area where protesters are located – I’m hoping now that protesters will act responsibly to avoid endangering their health and safety, and move off of the Corps land north of the Cannonball River.

“Additionally, our federal delegation and governor have been working together in a bipartisan effort to push for more federal resources for law enforcement who have worked day and night through weekends and holidays to support the safety of our communities. The administration needs to provide those funds – whether the protesters remain or not.”

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): “I appreciate very much President Obama listening to the Native American people and millions of others who believe this pipeline should not be built. In the year 2016, we should not continue to trample on Native American sovereignty. We should not endanger the water supply of millions of people. We should not become more dependent on fossil fuel and accelerate the planetary crisis of climate change. Our job now is to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels, not to produce more greenhouse gas emissions.”

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND): “The Obama administration’s refusal to issue an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline violates the rule of law and fails to resolve the issue. Instead, it passes the decision off to the next administration, which has already indicated it will approve the easement, and in the meantime perpetuates a difficult situation for North Dakotans.

“Protesters should move from their unlawful site now that the Obama administration has made its decision. By staying on the site, the protesters subject residents in the area to additional weeks of disruption and hardship.

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“The reality is that the company has observed all proper procedures and met all environmental standards required by four states and the Corps itself. Further, refusing the easement has ramifications over the long term; if companies and individuals cannot rely on a system that follows the rule of law, nobody will risk making future investments in our country’s vital infrastructure. That will make our nation vulnerable and less secure.

“Our state, local and federal law enforcement officials have acted with professionalism and diligence to maintain peace and order under very difficult circumstances, but their resources are strained and they need help. Following today’s announcement by the Corps, it is incumbent on the administration to provide funding and law enforcement resources to help maintain public safety.”

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member: “The Army Corps of Engineers made the obvious decision to subject this enormous, controversial project to the same environmental standards we would apply to any other project like it,” Grijalva said. “President Obama has handled a difficult situation with care and concern for the equities involved, and I thank him wholeheartedly for taking the necessary steps here. This is a big win for tribal rights, for environmental quality and for every American who has stood in solidarity with the water protectors in North Dakota. It now falls to the Trump administration to follow the law, treat this entire process with the respect and seriousness it demands, and honor the sacrifices of the Americans who put themselves in harm’s way to demand justice at Standing Rock.”

Brian Cladoosby, President National Congress of American Indians: “The Army Corps, the Department of Justice, and Department of the Interior deserve great credit for conducting a government-to-government consultation with Standing Rock’s leaders and those of many other tribal nations. We express great appreciation to the leadership. Full consideration of tribal impacts is necessary, and it will help to de-escalate the confrontation at Standing Rock.

“Although tribes want and support infrastructure development, not at the cost of our drinking water and sacred sites. We have to be at the table early to plan so that infrastructure benefits everyone.

“We are entering a season of cold and snow in North Dakota, and also a time of celebrating the holidays. We hope everyone involved on all sides of this issue will be able to be with their families for the holidays, while the project route is reconsidered. We can all pause to celebrate the Creator. In the New Year, let us put our minds together and see how we can find a solution.”

Eric Ferrero, Amnesty International USA: “This is an important victory for Indigenous people who fought to protect the water and their rights. While we celebrate this hard-fought victory, we also call on Congress to ensure that Indigenous communities are always consulted in decisions like this.

“It is critical that Indigenous communities be full participants in any decision that may affect their human rights, and the government must seek their free, prior and informed consent before any major infrastructure project moves forward. That was not what happened with the Dakota Access Pipeline, and we are heartened by the government’s announcement today.

“But this must only be the beginning of an improved process for projects that affect Indigenous populations. The stand by Standing Rock shows that Indigenous voices must not be ignored when their resources are imperiled. The world is now watching, and so are we.”

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Dakota Access Pipeline Halted, DC Reacts

URL: https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/dakota-access-pipeline-halted-dc-reacts/