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EAGLE BUTTE, SD, January 25, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ -- On January 24, 2017, President Trump issued a Memorandum pressuring the Secretary of the Army and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to approve an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to cross the Missouri River and Lake Oahe without a full analysis under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its impact on treaty resources. Without any basis, Trump calls DAPL "lawfully permitted pipeline infrastructure" even though the Pipeline still has not received an easement to cross the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.
Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Harold Frazier stated, "The United States Constitution declares that treaties with Indian tribes are the Supreme Law of the Land. President Trump cannot steamroll over the Constitution and our treaties. Not to mention the Corps' own policies requiring consultation with affected tribes." Chairman Harold Frazier leads the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe which is home to four (4) bands of the seven (7) that constitute the Teton Sioux Nation. The Teton Sioux Nation is the largest member of the Great Sioux Nation, referred to many as the Oceti Sakowin.
Trump's directive pressures the Corps to reverse its decision that further analysis of treaty and other impacts is needed in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). On January 18, 2017, the Corps published a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS "to consider any potential impacts to the human environment that the grant of an easement may cause." The Corps' Notice was based on two earlier decisions, November 14, 2016 and December 4, 2016, that additional discussion and analysis is needed to assess the impacts of DAPL on tribal drinking water, religious and cultural resources, and treaty hunting and fishing rights.
Borrowing from DAPL's arguments in Federal District Court, Trump's directive says that the DAPL easement should be approved based on a July 2016 Environmental Assessment (EA). However, that EA was prepared without assessing treaty rights and impacts on the Tribe's drinking water, and without consultation with the Tribe. The EA also did not provide a full analysis of alternative routes. Frazier stated, "If this pipeline is so safe, then why did they reroute it from north of Bismarck to our lands and waters? Our lands and waters were reserved in treaty with the United States and must be protected!"
The Tribe is seeking meetings with the Corps to discuss further review of DAPL. The Tribe is seeking an assessment of impacts on Indian treaty resources and impacts on all South Dakotans. Millions rely on clean water from the Missouri River for agriculture, drinking water, power, hunting and fishing, and recreation. The Tribe asks that all South Dakotans work together to protect these lands and waters.
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