The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday that it will grant Energy Transfer Partners, L.P., the developer of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, the easement required to build beneath North Dakota’s Lake Oahe.
Further study of environmental impacts of DAPL will also be jettisoned.
A memorandum from a senior official temporarily serving as assistant secretary of the Army said that Donald Trump’s Jan. 24, 2017 executive memorandum demanded the move.
Opponents of DAPL denounced the Trump regime’s move to short-circuit further study of the $3.8 billion dollar pipeline’s impacts on the water supply of native Americans in the Dakotas.
“The Obama administration correctly found that the Tribe’s treaty rights must be respected, and that the easement should not be granted without further review and consideration of alternative crossing locations,” Jan Hasselman, an attorney with Earthjustice who is representing tribal opponents of the project, said. “Trump’s reversal of that decision continues a historic pattern of broken promises to Indian Tribes and a violation of Treaty rights. Trump and his administration will be held accountable in court.”
The decision removes the last hurdle to completion of the fossil fuel infrastructure project.
Work on the project was stopped by the Obama administration last September. Then the Army Corps of Engineers had decided in on Dec. 4, 2016 not to grant the easement beneath Lake Oahe. The agency instead determined that preparation of an environmental impact statement on DAPL was necessary to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act.
The period in which the public could comment on that EIS began on Jan. 18 and was not set to expire until Feb. 20.
Trump, the real estate developer and reality television star who occupies the White House despite losing last November’s popular vote by nearly 3 million votes and despite Russian interference in the Presidential election, owned Energy Transfer Partners stock worth at least $500,000 in 2015.