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Dakota Access Pipeline Halted, DC Reacts

ICTMN Staff
12/5/16

Reactions from federal officials have been pouring in over the past 24 hours since federal officials and the Department of Army announced the denial of permits for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

RELATED: Army Denies Dakota Access Easement Under Lake Oahu; Exultation Ensues

Below are some of those reactions from leaders in D.C.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell: “The thoughtful approach established by the Army today ensures that there will be an in-depth evaluation of alternative routes for the pipeline and a closer look at potential impacts, as envisioned by NEPA. The Army's announcement underscores that tribal rights reserved in treaties and federal law, as well as Nation-to-Nation consultation with tribal leaders, are essential components of the analysis to be undertaken in the environmental impact statement going forward.”

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-MN4) and co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus: “I applaud the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to conduct a more thorough review of the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. A full environmental impact statement will appropriately consider the significant environmental and cultural concerns raised by the Standing Rock Sioux. Today’s decision also underscores that it is in the best interest of all parties to explore new routes that safeguard the environment and protect tribal sovereignty.

“As the review takes place, I urge the United States Department of Justice to continue to work with the Army Corps of Engineers and the State of North Dakota to ensure that well-being, safety, and constitutional rights of protesters at Standing Rock are protected.

“President Obama's respect for the sovereignty and traditions of the Standing Rock Sioux and all tribal nations has been a hallmark of his administration. I applaud the ongoing efforts of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice to fully consult with tribal leaders in North Dakota and across Indian country."

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs: "I appreciate the president and the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision today to deny an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing under Lake Oahe in North Dakota and to explore alternate routes. Over the last seven months, thousands of people, including Indian nations from New Mexico and across North America, have demonstrated their deep concern about the lack of consultation by the federal government and the potential environmental hazard this pipeline poses for the water. They have stood up for their rights despite harsh weather and the use of inexcusable violence against them. All New Mexicans know that water is life, and throughout our history we have seen environmental injustices done time and again to Native people. That is one reason many New Mexicans are among the protesters at Standing Rock. The Army Corps of Engineers is right – there is much more work to be done to consult with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and ensure the water is protected. Exploring alternative routes with a full Environmental Impact Statement, while continuing the ongoing discussions with the tribe, is the right step to take."

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM): "President Obama has just risen to the challenge and listened to all of our voices to reject the current route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. I commend our president for doing the right thing and thank the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the protectors standing in solidarity with them for working so fearlessly for this outcome."

Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA36): "I am delighted at the denial of the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing at Lake Oahe. I have been calling for this since I visited the Sacred Stone Camp. Today we can celebrate a victory for democracy, the right to self-determination, and all Native American water protectors who through peace and prayer fought to defend their health and cultural heritage. We must remain vigilant and ensure any future plan includes meaningful consultation with tribes.”

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND): “It’s long past time that a decision is made on the easement going under Lake Oahe. This administration’s delay in taking action -- after I’ve pushed the White House, Army Corps, and other federal agencies for months to make a decision – means that today’s move doesn’t actually bring finality to the project. The pipeline still remains in limbo. The incoming administration already stated its support for the project and the courts have already stated twice that it appeared the Corps followed the required process in considering the permit. For the next month and a half, nothing about this project will change. For the immediate future, the safety of residents, protesters, law enforcement, and workers remains my top priority as it should for everyone involved. As some of the protesters have become increasingly violent and unlawful, and as North Dakota’s winter has already arrived – with a blizzard raging last week through the area where protesters are located – I’m hoping now that protesters will act responsibly to avoid endangering their health and safety, and move off of the Corps land north of the Cannonball River.

“Additionally, our federal delegation and governor have been working together in a bipartisan effort to push for more federal resources for law enforcement who have worked day and night through weekends and holidays to support the safety of our communities. The administration needs to provide those funds – whether the protesters remain or not.”

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