Tension builds for the Dakota Access pipeline

09 February, 2017, 00:39 | Author: Celia Hoffman
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But on Jan.24, President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders relating to energy and infrastructure in a push to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline and revive the Keystone XL pipeline.

In an even bigger slap in the face to those opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also inferred that the environmental impact statement associated with the easement approval will not be drafted.

In early December, the Army said it would not approve an easement that would the pipeline pass underneath North Dakota's Lake Oahe just a half-mile away from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation.

Frances Read has more from Los Angeles.

In a statement, the Army said it had completed a review ordered by the Obama administration and saw no reason to delay the project on environmental grounds.

The Obama administration initially approved the request, but halted construction after the pipeline attracted national attention thanks to opposition from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and environmentalists.

Energy Transfer Partners has argued that it's safer to carry the crude oil from North Dakota to IL through its $3.8-billion pipeline than on trucks and trains. The sudden reversal is the work of, you guessed it, President Donald Trump.

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The stock for Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline, rose 0.8 percent after the announcement.

Standing Rock tribal Chairman Dave Archambault said that the tribe is "undaunted" by the government's decision to proceed with the pipeline and has said that the tribe will fight on.

"The Trump Administration has decided that profits for the corporate elite are more important than sovereign rights of Indigenous communities, clean water, the climate, and the voices of millions of people worldwide who have called for a halt on the Dakota Access Pipeline", said Mary Sweeters, a USA climate campaigner for Greenpeace. A notice terminating the study will be published in the Federal Register, according to filings in the federal court case between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the corps.

The U.S. Army is set to issue an easement to allow the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, but there is a lot that still needs to take place before the pipeline is up and running.

"The Obama administration correctly found that the Tribe's treaty rights must be respected and that the easement should not be granted without further review and consideration of alternative crossing locations", Hasselman said. Dallas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners says the pipeline is safe.

"The Trump Administration has chosen to put aside critical consultation with Native American tribes and environmental review of this pipeline". Trump claims that he has received no calls to complain about the Dakota Access pipeline. Slated to move 470,000 barrels of oil a day, the pipeline contributes to maintaining a carbon intensive economy when smarter markets are moving toward renewables.

Environmental groups including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity immediately denounced the US Army's decision. But, as protesters continue to fight for what they think is right, the outcome may not be what was expected.

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