Top Senate Democrats are questioning whether the builder and manager of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) had a permit to construct a controversial stretch of the project near tribal land and water sources.
“We are concerned that Energy Transfer Partners or its subsidiaries might have been drilling under Lake Oahe without a permit and while project approval was under a court challenge given news reports and court documents showing that the pipeline is close to completion 50 days ahead of schedule,” the senators wrote.
The letter comes from Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Tom Carper (D-DE), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works.
They argued that the Corps has provided “virtually no information to Congress regarding its oversight of the project” and that the Corps’ actions have left real questions over whether it made “efforts to make sure that Energy Transfer Partners complies with even the most fundamental environmental, safety and mitigation conditions of its easement and permits.”
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Yankton Sioux Tribe all continue to battle Energy Transfer Partners and the U.S. government in federal court on multiple legal fronts.
The senators further asked the Corps to clarify its well-reported lack of tribal consultation on this matter.
“Given the federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities to tribes affected by this project, we also seek information regarding how the Corps has engaged with affected tribal communities and the extent to which tribes have been appropriately consulted and informed during any permitting and construction activity,” the senators wrote. “Has the Corps made a determination that compliance with President Trump’s Executive Memorandum satisfies the federal government’s obligation to meet its trust and treaty obligations to affected tribal governments?”
We are in search of a copy of this letter and what will transpire next. Some are suggesting that the pipeline will be stopped if it is proven unsafe. We think this can result in a full EIS if the right ears get the news.
Several Sources Reporting “Letter”
Credit: Indian Country Media Network