Nearly 20 members of Congress sent a letter riddled with various factual errors to the White House Thursday pressuring the Obama administration to put a permanent stop to a hotly contested oil pipeline in North Dakota.
The letter was co-signed by 19 lawmakers and directly calls on President Barack Obama to withdraw federal permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline “like you did with the rejection of the Keystone Pipeline.”
It was signed by the likes of Democrats Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Rep. Barbara Lee of California, and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, all of whom are considered influential on the left-wing side of the Democratic Party.
“You can and should extend your historic legacy,” the letter reads. “The pipeline poses significant threats to the environment, public health, and tribal and human rights.”
The letter has not been well-received by the energy industry — some analysts, in fact, are suggesting the letter contains bald-faced lies.
“It’s unfortunate that some are trying to move this discussion away from the facts,” Craig Stevens, a spokesman for oil and gas lobby group Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN Coalition), told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
MAIN Coalition sat on the letter for a day in the hopes of fleshing out all of the misinformation it contained, Stevens said. The group developed a fact-checked version of the letter Friday, which can be viewed here.
The letter contains multiple errors, including equating the nearly 1,200-mile long project with the Keystone XL Pipeline, an $8 billion oil pipeline which was ultimately scuttled by Obama in 2015 after years of delay.
The Keystone pipeline was never granted a government permit, since the president decided it would not benefit the economy in any meaningful way. The oil pipeline in North Dakota, on the other hand, was granted numerous permits and is nearly 70 percent complete, save for a small area being held up by protesters.
Grijalva and the other lawmakers also argue the pipeline’s construction near the Standing Rock Sioux’s reservation would “threaten sacred sites and culturally important landscapes.”
The nearly $4 billion project is coming under incredible scrutiny as protesters and members of the Standing Rock Sioux, successors to the Great Sioux Nation, argue the pipeline’s construction would trample on tribal lands and destroy artifacts.
Seven North Dakota archaeologists inspected the 1.3-mile section along the route of the Dakota Access pipeline in southern North Dakota, the state’s chief archaeologist said in a memo published Sept. 25.
The archaeologists said only a handful of animal teeth and bone fragments were found during the survey, which suggests that the pipeline, contrary to the insinuations of legislators, would have almost no immediate impact on the tribal artifacts.
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