• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Memos Reveal Army Corps Knows Dakota Access Pipeline Violates Legal Requirement

On March 3, MinnPost reported that four memos were pulled from the Department of the Interior website on the Army Corps of Engineers after Donald Trump took office, citing their removal signifies, “an attempt to make opaque some serious shortcomings in the Corps’ performance on DAPL that are little known and less understood.”

The Dakota Access Pipeline, enabled by Barack Obama signing a bill in 2015 to lift a ban on U.S. Oil exports creating the demand for domestic pipelines to be built for oil export, emerged as a movement for indigenous rights and environmentalism, as camps close to where the pipeline is being constructed under Lake Oahe in North Dakota swelled with water protectors trying to halt its construction in 2016. Pipeline security and local police forces made controversial headlines throughout late 2016 with their use of militaristic tactics against the water protectors, including the use of overt propaganda, water cannons in sub-freezing temperatures, attack dogs, and inflicting severe injuries against water protectors.

On December 4, 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers announced the pipeline’s construction would be halted pending an environmental impact assessment, hailed as a short-term victory for water protectors. But after Trump assumed office, the pipeline’s construction quickly continued to move forward, leaving the Standing Rock Sioux forced to pursue a legal battle for the Army Corps of Engineers to stand by that initial decision.

The memos recently removed from the Department of Interior website could provide the necessary evidence for a court to rule in favor of the Standing Rock Sioux. One of the memos authored by Hilary Tompkins, Solicitor of the Interior under the Obama Administration, found that the Army Corps of Engineers attempted to avoid the issue of the pipeline’s route under Lake Oahe encroaching on Standing Rock Sioux treaty land, accepted Energy Transfer Partners’ assertion based on unsubstantiated claims that the likelihood of pipeline leaks were low and the company’s review of possible spills has not been released for independent review. Tompkins also noted the Army Corps of Engineers falsely concluded the pipeline posed little risk to Standing Rock Sioux reservation drinking water based on assertions that the reservation’s residents use wells and other surface water, but in fact the majority of the reservation’s residents depend on Lake Oahe as a direct water source.

Despite Tompkins’ assessment, last amended on December 4, that the Army Corps of Engineers did not abide by legal requirements in previous decisions to move the Dakota Access Pipeline ahead, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Jo-Ellen Darcy, has refused to acknowledge the Corps’ errors. Darcy announced the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision on December 4, 2016 to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction pending an environmental impact assessment, but that decision has been subsequently rescinded under the Trump Administration, with an article detailing that December 4 announcement removed from the Army’s website.

Tompkins’ memos do however corroborate the criticisms from the Standing Rock Sioux against Dakota Access Pipeline, and could potentially force the Trump Administration to stand by the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision from December 2016.

“The Corps ultimately rejected the Bismarck route due in large part to its proximity to a central municipality and to ‘multiple conservation easements, habitat management areas, National Wildlife Refuges, state trust lands, waterfowl production areas, and private tribal lands.’ The Corps also noted that the Bismarck route crossed or was in close proximity to ‘several wellhead source water protection areas,’ and thus determined that the agency should avoid that route so as ”to protect areas that contribute water to municipal water supply wells,'” Tompkins noted, affirming that the Dakota Access Pipeline’s original route, near the North Dakota capital of Bismarck, was moved further south due to concerns that any spills would adversely impact local water supplies. Sunoco Logistics, the company that will operate the Dakota Access Pipeline, tops charts in the United States for most oil spills, with over 200 leaks since 2010.

The memos also affirmed that the Army Corps of Engineers made no efforts to consult with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe after the decision to move the original pipeline route. Tompkins added, “The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Reservations are the permanent and irreplaceable homelands for the Tribes. Their core identity and livelihood depend upon their relationship to the land and environment – unlike a resident of Bismarck, who could simply relocate if the DAPL pipeline fouled the municipal water supply, Tribal members do not have the luxury of moving away from an environmental disaster without also leaving their ancestral territory. This underscores the far-reaching effects of a DAPL spill’s potential environmental impacts on the Tribes’ historic, cultural, social, and economic interests.”

More articles by:

Michael Sainato’s writing has appeared in the Guardian, Miami Herald, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, Buffalo News, the Hill, Alternet, and several other publications . Follow him on twitter: @MSainat1

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 17, 2019
Steve Early
The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)
Jonathan Cook
Israel Prepares to Turn Bedouin Citizens into Refugees in Their Own Country
Stan Cox
Healing the Rift Between Political Reality and Ecological Reality
Jeff Klein
Syria, the Kurds, Turkey and the U.S.: Why Progressives Should Not Support a New Imperial Partition in the Middle East
George Ochenski
The Governor, the Mining Company and the Future of a Montana Wilderness
Charles Pierson
Bret Stephens’ American Fantasy
Ted Rall
The First Thing We Do, Let’s Fire All the Cops
Jon Rynn
Saving the Green New Deal
Ajamu Baraka
Syria: Exposing Western Radical Collaboration with Imperialism
Binoy Kampmark
A Coalition of Support: Parliamentarians for Julian Assange
Thomas Knapp
The Down Side of Impeachment
Harvey Wasserman
What Really Happened to American Socialism?
Tom Engelhardt
American Brexit
October 16, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
How Turkey’s Invasion of Syria Backfired on Erdogan
Chitrangada Choudhury – Aniket Aga
How Cotton Became a Headache in the Age of Climate Chaos
Jack Rasmus
US-China Mini-Trade Deal: Trump Takes the Money and Runs
Michael Welton
Communist Dictatorship in Our Midst
Robert Hunziker
Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World
Peter A. Coclanis
Donald Trump as Artist
Chris Floyd
Byzantium Now: Time-Warping From Justinian to Trump
Steve Klinger
In For a Dime, in For a Dollar
Gary Leupp
The Maria Ramirez Story
Kim C. Domenico
It Serves Us Right To Suffer: Breaking Down Neoliberal Complacency
Kiley Blackman
Wildlife Killing Contests are Unethical
Colin Todhunter
Bayer Shareholders: Put Health and Nature First and Stop Funding This Company!
Andrés Castro
Looking Normal in Kew Gardens
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail