All DAPL crude oil pipeline construction in federal lands will stop, the USDOJ announced after a federal court denied an injunction to Native Americans.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
September 9, 2016
Washington, D.C. – After the decision to deny an injunction in federal court to halt construction of a crude oil pipeline in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ), the Department of the Army and the Department of Interior in a joint decision have decided that all Dakota Access Pipeline construction in federal land will be halted until issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are addressed.
According to the USDOJ, the Department of the Army, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior will take the following steps.
The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws. Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time. The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.
“Furthermore, this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects. Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations on two questions: (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals.“Finally, we fully support the rights of all Americans to assemble and speak freely. We urge everyone involved in protest or pipeline activities to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. Of course, anyone who commits violent or destructive acts may face criminal sanctions from federal, tribal, state, or local authorities. The Departments of Justice and the Interior will continue to deploy resources to North Dakota to help state, local, and tribal authorities, and the communities they serve, better communicate, defuse tensions, support peaceful protest, and maintain public safety.
“In recent days, we have seen thousands of demonstrators come together peacefully, with support from scores of sovereign tribal governments, to exercise their First Amendment rights and to voice heartfelt concerns about the environment and historic, sacred sites. It is now incumbent on all of us to develop a path forward that serves the broadest public interest,” the USDOJ announced.
Neither Cody Schulz, the Morton County Commission Chair or Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier have not released a statement on the USDOJ to stop all DAPL construction on federal lands. Schulz and Kirchmeier supported the DAPL pipeline project.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe announced that their attorney filed an “injunction pending appeal” in response to federal Judge Broasberg’s decision and both DAPL and the Army Corps filed a response opposing the appeal. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe attorney will file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals next week.
“As we understand it, there is NOTHING legally binding in the DOJ’s joint statement. Again, not a victory yet,” the Sacred Stone Camp posted on their Facebook account on Friday.