On Friday, September 8th, the Dakota Access Pipeline’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DAPL DEIS) was finally published.
After multiple delays over the course of several months, the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) released the final draft. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District developed the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the DAPL easement request to cross federally managed land at Lake Oahe under the Mineral Leasing Act authority. However, the Army Corps ran the project illegally without the proper legal easement since the beginning of 2021.
This project has been on Oceti Sakowin lands, otherwise known as the Great Sioux Nation. For years, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and thousands of supporters called out DAPL as a direct violation of the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty. Further, DAPL violates the Nation’s right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent, affecting Indigenous livelihoods and forcing Indigenous lands to become sacrifice zones.
The Environmental Impact Study was conducted between September 26, 2020, and October 26, 2020. However, an extension was granted, and comments were ultimately received until November 26, 2020. During this timeframe, Iowa has also granted permission to build more pump stations along the route.
“The Environmental Impact Statement process is a key requirement of the National Environmental Protection Act… The fact that the ACOE will grant permits without an EIS for the DAPL shows it was without consent, illegally operating now, and a constant threat to Lakota People and the environment.” said Waniya Locke (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe), local grassroots and community organizer.
On March 25, 2020, the District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Army Corp of Engineers to prepare a DEIS for this portion of the pipeline as the negative effects on the quality of the human environment are highly likely. Yet, Energy Transfer continued the construction; putting the Missouri River, and nearby waterways, ecosystems, and the global climate at risk for further pollution and catastrophe.
“The Dakota Access Pipeline needs to be shutdown at all costs, as long as it operates it will continue to put our communities at risk– it is a threat to our waterways, and we will continue to denounce the Dakota Access Pipeline. It goes against our rights, not just basic human rights but our Treaty rights. We as Indigenous Peoples are considered expendable to Energy Transfer, its partners, the oil and gas industry, and politicians. It is not about if the pipeline breaks and leaks, it’s when. Our children and the next seven generations’ lives will be affected by this pipeline and I want to protect our and their futures by ensuring clean drinking water, land, and air to breathe.” said Morgan Brings Plenty (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe), Digital Organizing Fellow at the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Tom BK Goldtooth (Diné/ Dakota) shares, “We’ve fought this project for the past seven years, but the ACOE is determined to undermine that work. This new DEIS convolutes their way into naming the DAPL construction the safest bet, a blatant lie. According to them, the water, soil, and community health will benefit from not only building DAPL, but by pumping through twice as much oil as was originally proposed. Nowhere in this statement is the climate crisis mentioned, or that oil and gas remains the biggest contributor to the climate crisis by and large. The ACOE will answer for their so-called decisions, and we can ensure that by commenting during their public comment period. ”
We urge Indigenous communities and allies to submit a public comment and express their concerns. Public comments will be accepted through November 13, 2023.
Additional public meetings will be held in Bismarck, ND:
Where: The Radisson Hotel, 605 E Broadway Ave, Bismarck, ND 58501
When: November 1 and 2, 2023 from 6-9 p.m. CST
Public comments can be sent to USACOE by US Postal Service or Emailed with subject line: “Comments on the DAPL DEIS” to: NWO-DAPL-EIS@usace.army.mil or at the following address:
Attn: Brent Cossette
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
1616 Capitol Avenue
Omaha, NE 68102
Additional contact information: CENWO-PA, 402-995-2417 firstname.lastname@example.org
We continue to join the many members of our network, community members, and relatives at Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes, along with our allies, to continue the fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and keep fossil fuels in the ground!