SEHN

Visionary Science, Ethics, Law and Action in the Public Interest

Action Alert on Dakota Access

By Carolyn Raffensperger

Call the Army Corps of Engineers Now.

In a fast moving chess game over Dakota Access, the President just issued a Presidential Memo to the Army Corps of Engineers telling it to fast track Dakota Access and

1) to review and approve the construction and operation of DAPL;

2) consider whether to withdraw the intent to do an Environmental Impact Statement and

3) consider prior reviews as meeting the National Environmental Policy Act.

We can’t let the Army Corps of Engineers back down.  Act now!

Call the Corps and insist that they NOT WITHDRAW THE NOTICE OF INTENT TO DO AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT.  Instead, It must expand the scope of the Dakota Access EIS to include Iowa and the other states affected by Dakota Access.  Below we give you reasons for expanding it beyond Standing Rock and provide a sample script.

Call, Email or Write:

Mr. Gib Owen, Water Resources Policy and Legislation, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Washington, DC 20310–0108; telephone: (703) 695–6791; email:

Sample language:

The Army has committed to doing an Environmental Impact Statement for Dakota Access at Lake Oahe.  Don’t rescind the Notice of Intent. We strongly urge you to expand the review to the entire pipeline route and not limit it to the Missouri River crossing at Lake Oahe north of Standing Rock North Dakota. 

It is essential to expand the EIS to include Iowa since the permitting failures that led to both the Sioux lawsuits and this new review extend down the entire length of the pipeline. The permitting process failed to consider:

  • that this pipeline covers wider traditional and treaty territories of the Sioux in South Dakota and Iowa. Sioux land is not limited to Standing Rock or even that tiny corner of North Dakota.
  • injustices built into the crude oil siting process are suffered by rural people as well as indigenous peoples;
  • the long-term and cumulative impacts of the pipeline on water and climate.

Therefore we insist that the EIS include:

1) Tribal consultation across the entire pipeline route.  Tribal consultation must not be limited to the single crossing at the Missouri River. In June of 2016 a Sioux sacred site in an Iowa Wildlife Management Area was identified by Sioux Tribal Historic Preservation Officers.  Sioux land is not limited to Standing Rock and therefore the review and tribal consultation must extend to the entire Treaty lands that are crossed by Dakota Access.  This requires meaningful, Nation-to-Nation, tribal consultation over most of the length of the entire pipeline and tribal consent for those portions of the pipeline that cross lands of Native nations.

2) Federal siting criteria and the Corps Nationwide Permit failed to equally protect rural peoples.  Urban areas get more protection.  Rural areas in Iowa, South Dakota Illinois, and tribal areas are not treated the same as highly populated areas during the siting or operation of crude oil pipelines.  So Bismarck is given deference but Standing Rock N.D. and Boone, IA are not.  Tribal and rural areas are considered “low consequence” and therefore not subject to the same construction standards, the same monitoring requirements, nor do they have a robust emergency response plan.  Rural and tribal areas deserve the same safety protections as others.  Despite being in low-density areas, the pipeline would cross major drinking water sources that impact hundreds of thousands of people. These areas should not only be considered high priority, the pipeline should not be allowed to cross any major drinking water source.  An EIS must take into account these inadequate protections for rural communities.

3) The cumulative impacts and long-term threats to drinking water and climate must be fully accounted for in the EIS. Those threats are not limited to Lake Oahe. The impact of this pipeline is so great, the failure to require a full environmental impact statement for all the states is nothing short of irresponsible. The threats to our water, land, soil, climate and many people’s livelihood are too great to not be considered.

#nodapl