There were those of us who were seriously distressed over the news that around February 2017, the republican President Donald Trump opted to push aside President Barack Obama’s decision to not continue with the Dakota Access Pipeline construction as it was originally planned. The president issued an executive order to restart construction. All those who had been protesting with the Sioux Indians to block further work on the oil pipeline were ordered to leave the area.
But the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe did not give up the fight. They took their battle to the courtroom. Again the judicial branch of our government has acted as a check to the president’s power play.
I have asserted that the president has not proven that he has divested himself from his investments with Energy Transfer Partners and Phillips 66 which are party to completing and managing this project. In short, “we the people” have no way of knowing if his policy decision was done without him being financially enriched because of it. After the completion of the construction of the pipeline, only about 30 permanent jobs would have been created.
The Standing Rock Sioux have been contesting the current DAPL construction plan which would compromise their only water supply with a single leak, but it was being pushed through even though the Army Corp of Engineers hadn’t done an adequate study of the environmental impact that this pipeline would have on its community. And there was no consideration that this project also encroached on their sacred burial grounds.
But hope springs eternal. Here is the rest of the story...
On June 14, 2017, EarthJustice.org published the following report, “In Victory For Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Court Finds That Approval of Dakota Dakota Access pipeline Violated The Law.”(” Victory: Ruling: Trump administration shortcut environmental review; Court seeks additional briefing on whether to shut down pipeline.”)
“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won a significant victory today in its fight to protect the Tribe’s drinking water and ancestral lands from the Dakota Access pipeline.”
“A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects.”
In a 91-page decision, Judge James Boasberg wrote, “the Court agrees that [the Corps] did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial.” The Court did not determine whether pipeline operations should be shut off and has requested additional briefing on the subject and a status conference next week.”
“This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a recent statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline, and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests. We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately.”
The Tribe’s inspiring and courageous fight has attracted international attention and drawn the support of hundreds of tribes around the nation.
“This decision marks an important turning point. Until now, the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have been disregarded by the builders of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trump administration—prompting a global outcry,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman. “The federal courts have stepped in where our political systems have failed to protect the rights of Native communities.”
“The Court ruled against the Tribe on other issues, finding that the reversal allowing the pipeline complied with the law in some respects.”
“The $3.8 billion pipeline project, also known as Bakken Oil Pipeline, extends 1,168 miles across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, crossing through communities, farms, tribal land, sensitive natural areas and wildlife habitat. The pipeline would carry up to 570,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois where it links with another pipeline that will transport the oil to terminals and refineries along the Gulf of Mexico.”