WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) blasted the Trump Administration’s approval of a final easement to build the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and its failure to undertake meaningful consultation with Native American tribes.
In a letter to President Donald Trump, Heinrich and other members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources said, “This blatant disregard for federal law and our country’s treaty and trust responsibilities to Native American tribes is unacceptable. We strongly oppose this decision and any efforts to undermine tribal rights. We urge you to immediately reverse this decision and follow the appropriate procedures required for tribal consultation, environmental law, and due process.”
On Wednesday, the Trump administration formally approved the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Army Corps of Engineers granted the final easement needed for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe, a section of the Missouri River just north of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. The decision circumvents appropriate consultation with Native American Tribes and the Army Corps’ environmental review process.
The pipeline is projected to carry 500,000 barrels of oil underneath the Missouri River per day. The oil crosses the river at Lake Oahe, just a half mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Lake Oahe and the Missouri provide drinking water for the tribe and the surrounding regions, as well as providing habitat for fish and wildlife. Significantly, the lake is also a sacred site for the Standing Rock Sioux, playing an important role in sacred ceremonies.
Signing the letter are Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-3), Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Rep. A. Donald McEachin (VA-4) and Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-2).