#NoDAPL: Standing Rock Sioux Respond to Trump’s Executive Action

Rural America In These Times January 24, 2017

On Tues­day, Pres­i­dent Trump signed five exec­u­tive orders, two of which revive the Dako­ta Access (DAPL) and Key­stone XL pipelines. The oth­er three were draft­ed to fast track the envi­ron­men­tal per­mit­ting process­es required to com­plete the con­tro­ver­sial projects while direct­ing the Com­merce Depart­ment to max­i­mize the use of U.S. steel in their con­struc­tion. A video of Trump briefly com­ment­ing as he signs the orders is embed­ded below. 

Short­ly fol­low­ing the announce­ment, the Stand­ing Rock Sioux Tribe, who view DAPL as a threat to their water, sacred sites and trib­al sov­er­eign­ty, released the fol­low­ing statement:

Can­non Ball, N.D. — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s exec­u­tive action towards an approval of an ease­ment for the Dako­ta Access Pipeline risks con­t­a­m­i­nat­ing trib­al and Amer­i­can water sup­plies while dis­re­gard­ing treaty rights. The Trump administration’s polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed deci­sion vio­lates the law and the Tribe will take legal action to fight it.

Pres­i­dent Trump is legal­ly required to hon­or our treaty rights and pro­vide a fair and rea­son­able pipeline process,” said Dave Archam­bault II, chair­man of the Stand­ing Rock Sioux Tribe. Amer­i­cans know this pipeline was unfair­ly rerout­ed towards our nation and with­out our con­sent. The exist­ing pipeline route risks infring­ing on our treaty rights, con­t­a­m­i­nat­ing our water and the water of 17 mil­lion Amer­i­cans downstream.”

The U.S. Army Corp of Engi­neers reject­ed DAPL’s request for an ease­ment late last year, find­ing that the agency had failed to ful­ly con­sid­er the impacts of the pipeline on the Stand­ing Rock Sioux Tribe. The Depart­ment of the Army pledged to con­duct a full envi­ron­men­tal review of the Mis­souri Riv­er cross­ing and eval­u­ate alter­na­tive sites, which would not put the Tribe at risk of an oil spill. How­ev­er, that envi­ron­men­tal review would be cir­cum­vent­ed under today’s Exec­u­tive Order, allow­ing the project to imme­di­ate­ly resume construction.

Trump’s press sec­re­tary said on Mon­day that Trump intend­ed to approve the ease­ment with an aim towards job cre­ation. But trib­al lead­ers note the bulk of pipeline jobs are in pipeline con­struc­tion. The pipeline only cre­ates a total of 15 per­ma­nent jobs in North Dako­ta. A reroute would pro­tect the Tribe’s water and cre­ate hun­dreds of jobs, Archam­bault said.

Stand­ing Rock said it’s not a mat­ter of if, but when DAPL will leak. Suno­co, one of the Amer­i­can com­pa­nies oper­at­ing DAPL, has a poor record on pipeline safe­ty and spill pre­ven­tion. Data from the Pipeline and Haz­ardous Mate­ri­als Safe­ty Admin­is­tra­tion, show oper­a­tors have report­ed about 200 crude oil spills per year, on aver­age. More than 176,000 gal­lons of oil spilled in west­ern North Dako­ta last month alone.

Archam­bault said Trump’s deci­sion appears to be a polit­i­cal pay­back. By grant­i­ng the ease­ment, Trump is risk­ing our treaty rights and water sup­ply to ben­e­fit his wealthy con­trib­u­tors and friends at DAPL,” he said. We are not opposed to ener­gy inde­pen­dence. We are opposed to reck­less and polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed devel­op­ment projects, like DAPL, that ignore our treaty rights and risk our water. Cre­at­ing a sec­ond Flint does not make Amer­i­ca great again.”

Asked by a reporter in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump, any com­ment to the Stand­ing Rock com­mu­ni­ty and the pro­test­ers out there?” Pres­i­dent Trump ignored the ques­tion. (Video: Asso­ci­at­ed Press / YouTube)

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