Mar 7, 2017 - Suppressed Memo Shows Army Corps Failures in Reviewing the Dakota Access Pipeline
On January 24th, the Trump administration directed the Army Corps of Engineers to stop its Environmental Impact Statement and fast-track the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline [DAPL].
Shortly after, four memos that were highly critical of the Army Corps of Engineers and Energy Transfer Partners many failures relating to the DAPL and lack of consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe were pulled from the Interior Departments web-page.
According to MINNPOST the memos, written by Interior Solicitor Hilary Tompkins, “details many failures of the Corps and of Energy Transfer Partners, which is building the project, to meet the requirements of federal law in dealing with the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River tribes.”
Some findings from the memo’s include:
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.
But while the Corps determined that these concerns rendered the Bismarck alternative non-viable, and thus chose not to analyze their decision in detail in the [Environmental Assessment], the EA minimizes identical considerations with respect to the Lake Oahe route’s threat to on-reservation tribal hunting, fishing, and water rights….
The rationale for putting the pipeline at Lake Oahe is based on representations from the applicant [meaning ETP] with no input from the Tribes.
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.
Read full text of Hilary Tompkins memos HERE
By Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle- Lakota)