Obama Delays Dakota Pipeline Again Despite Research Showing It’s Safe
The Obama administration announced Monday it will further delay construction on the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), making it increasingly likely that President-elect Donald Trump will ultimately determine the project’s future.
The Army Corps of Engineers moved to delay the $3.8 billion project again despite having reviewed more than 1,200 pages of environmental and cultural analysis over the past three years, as well as consulting with 55 American Indian tribes nearly 400 times.
“The Army has determined that additional discussion and analysis are warranted in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation’s dispossessions of lands, the importance of Lake Oahe to the Tribe, our government-to-government relationship, and the statute governing easements through government property,” the Army Corps said in a statement.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe believes the pipeline’s route would harm its only source of drinking water, while the line’s construction would desecrate the tribe’s sacred sites. The tribe’s concerns were reviewed thoroughly by two separate federal courts, both of which determined the pipeline could move forward.
The energy industry called President Barack Obama’s delay a “political decision” meant to bludgeon oil and gas companies at the expense of America’s energy needs.
“This extrajudicial, political decision is exactly why hard-working Americans across the country rejected a third Obama term,” Craig Stevens, a spokesman for Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.
He added: “By its own review and admission, the Army Corps of Engineers did everything right. Americans expect their government to play by the rules – and this is just another example of the Obama Administration using its perceived authority to drive a political agenda.”
Advocates also accused the administration of seeking “death by delay” for the nearly 1,200-mile-long project, but are holding out hope the battle will be taken up by Trump, who held massive investments in the DAPL in 2015.
Financial disclosure forms filed by the real estate tycoon in May of 2015 show he invested in Energy Transfer Partners, the company responsible for constructing the DAPL. The information was disclosed in Trump’s filing to the Federal Election Commission.
The billionaire turned president-elect dumped another $500,000 in Phillips 66, which will have a 25 percent ownership in the project once completed. He also reported making upward of $50,000 in interest, dividends and capital gains from the pipeline.
He has also floated the idea of reviving the Keystone XL line, a Canadian pipeline cutting through the U.S that was eventually scuttled in 2014 by Obama.
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