FORT YATES, ND (KELO.com) – The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in northern South Dakota is preparing to hold a meeting Wednesday between its own tribal leaders, U.S. military officials and other leaders from across the the great Sioux nation.
Stakeholders will discuss the future of the Dakota Access Pipeline, including its delayed environmental impact statement.
Below is a press release from the SRST.
FORT YATES, ND (3/2/2022) – Following a Supreme Court victory last week in its lawsuit against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is preparing to hold a meeting between its own tribal leaders, U.S. Army officials, and other leaders from across the Great Sioux Nation.
Stakeholders will discuss the beleaguered pipeline’s future, including its delayed environmental impact statement (EIS), according to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe President Janet Alkire. “I am very pleased to join the other tribes of the Great Sioux Nation in speaking to the Assistant Secretary of Army Civil Works on Wednesday,” Alkire said. “It’s been long overdue.”
Objections to the DAPL from the tribe and its allies have routinely fallen on deaf ears at the government level. Tens of thousands of Natives and allies gathered at Standing Rock in 2016 and 2017 to protest DAPL after it was diverted from its originally intended path north of Bismarck to the reservation’s threshold. In one of his first acts in office, former President Donald Trump signed an executive order accelerating the DAPL. Standing Rock then sued pipeline operator Energy Transfer, citing the National Environmental Policy Act.
Eventually, US District Court Judge James Boasberg ruled that a new environmental impact statement would be required for DAPL – but he gave the US executive responsibility to stop the flow of oil of the pipeline during the production of the EIS. To date, the Biden administration has refused to do so. Then, last week, Standing Rock received what it considered good news from the Supreme Court, which refused to hear Energy Transfer’s appeal to have the review requirement removed. more environmental.
Standing Rock officials say they expected the Army Corps of Engineers to release the EIS for public comment in February. Anticipating this release, the chiefs of the Sioux tribes of Standing Rock, Oglala and Cheyenne River – citing concerns about Energy Resources Management, the company responsible for preparing the EIS – wrote a letter requesting an alternative EIS under the supervision of the United States Department of Health. inside. Then, in January, Standing Rock withdrew entirely as a cooperating agency from the environmental review process.
Alkire issued press releases expressing concern about the lack of transparency in the process, the dangers of low water levels in Lake Oahe – a reservoir adjacent to its reserve, under which the pipeline passes – and the response plan potentially inadequate emergency response from DAPL.
Pending the opportunity to gather more feedback from the tribes today, the Army Corps of Engineers has yet to release its EIS for public comment. Army officials contacted Standing Rock and requested the meeting, which will take place at the Prairie Knights Casino on the North Dakota side of Standing Rock from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. The public and the press will not be allowed inside for the deliberations, but the press will be allowed to ask questions after the meeting.
Representatives from the Oglala, Cheyenne River, Flandreau, Rosebud, Yankton, Lower Brule, Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes are expected. All the Great Plains tribes were invited, as well as the Treaty Council officials.
“The Department of the Army is taking the time to give the tribes an opportunity to finally voice their concerns and really listen,” Alkire says. “It is important to me that all tribes of the Great Plains are invited to be part of this conversation. Together in unity we are strong, and it is not just Standing Rock that will be affected by an oil spill. A catastrophic oil spill could pollute much of the country’s drinking water. It is unclear how wide the spread of the toxin from such a spill could be, potentially affecting other surrounding tribes and millions of people downstream.