The final permit needed for an easement for the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline will be granted. The easement is likely be to granted to Energy Transfer Partners no later than this afternoon.
The Deputy Secretary of the Army will grant the final permit. The permit will provide for a 30-year easement north of Dakota’s Lake Oahe, and while Congressional Republicans praised the move, members of Standing Rock Sioux tribe call the move unlawful.
“We are a sovereign nation and we will fight to protect our water and sacred places from the brazen private interests trying to push this pipeline through to benefit a few wealthy Americans with financial ties to the Trump administration,” Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement Tuesday, as the Washington Post reported.
The tribe believes the pipeline is unfairly routed across treaty lands. In addition, they claim an environmental impact study has been wrongfully terminated by a Trump executive order on Jan. 24.
The decision to move ahead with the pipeline’s construction will be challenged in court. The tribe will seek to shut down construction, in part, due to Energy Transfer Partners’ stall tactics in disclosing its oil spill and risk records for the project.
The Obama Administration had halted the construction process and asked officials to further scrutinize the potential environmental impacts the pipeline might pose through the planned route. Further, then President, Barack Obama declared the tribe’s treaty rights should be respected and an easement should not be granted until alternative routes could be reviewed and considered.
Keith Benes, a former State Department attorney, who helped with the Obama Administration’s decisions regarding the pipeline said there is no precedent for what the Trump Administration is doing. He said the mere fact that Trump ordered a change does not provide enough of a defense for changing the factual findings of the previous administration.
For now, however, it appears Energy Transfer Partners will be allowed to continue the construction of the pipeline.
The Army’s decision to grant the easement is a major obstacle for activists who have come from across the country, and to Native Americans who have already suffered in last year’s confrontations with the government and withstood brutal conditions over the winter months on Standing Rocks cold and windy reservation.