MR. PRESIDENT, APPROVE THE PIPELINE EASEMENT WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY, SUPPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT
WASHINGTON – In a letter to President Barack Obama, Senator John Hoeven, Congressman Kevin Cramer and Governor Jack Dalrymple today called on the president to quit delaying and authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to approve the final federal easement for the Lake Oahe crossing of the Dakota Access Pipeline and to immediately provide the State of North Dakota with law enforcement resources to assist state and local enforcement to address violent protesters and keep the peace. The full text can be accessed here and is below.
November 23, 2016
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
We call on you again to direct the Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) to approve, without further delay, the final federal easement for the Lake Oahe crossing of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Further, in the strongest terms possible, we recommend you provide federal law enforcement resources immediately to state and local agencies in order to maintain public safety, which has been threatened by ongoing – and oftentimes violent – protest activity. These resources are essential to prevent further destruction on and surrounding federal lands.
The pipeline, which is already 98 percent complete in North Dakota and 86 percent complete overall, has undergone years of thorough state regulatory reviews and an extensive federal environmental assessment, which found no significant environmental impact. In fact, the pipeline will be sited within an existing right-of-way that already includes a natural gas pipeline and a high-voltage electric transmission line. Twice challenged and twice upheld – including by your own appointees – federal courts found that the Army Corps had followed the appropriate process, the tribe was properly consulted and the project could lawfully proceed. As a former Constitutional law professor you certainly understand there is no legal reason to withhold this easement.
Further, you must respect the rule of law and help the State of North Dakota protect its citizens. Your inaction on the pending easement has created undue hardship and uncertainty for area residents, private landowners, tribal members, construction workers and law enforcement personnel. We have seen instances of trespassing, vandalism, theft and fire on privately owned ranchland. Residents have endured the challenges caused by roads being blocked or closed, either by protest activity or law enforcement’s response to it to ensure safety at a time when farmers and ranchers are busy harvesting, hauling hay, shipping calves and moving their herds from summer pasture. In addition, law enforcement is investigating cases of butchered, mutilated, injured and missing cattle, horses and bison in areas adjacent to sites occupied by protesters.
In accordance with the finding of the Army Corps’ environmental assessment and court decisions, we call on you to direct the Army Corps to follow established regulatory criteria and approve the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing at Lake Oahe. In addition, we recommend federal resources be deployed expeditiously to protect people and property in the area of violent protests.
John Hoeven Kevin Cramer Jack Dalrymple
U.S. Senator U.S. Congressman North Dakota Governor