Politics and civics

Standing Rock Sioux met with Energy Transfer Partners in September 2014

Standing Rock Sioux publicly opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2014, long before permitting or draft environmental assessments had begun.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe released audio from a September 2014 meeting with Dakota Access Pipeline representatives that directly contradicts claims made by the DAPL builders.

Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP, the parent company), told the Wall Street Journal, in an article published November 16:

I really wish for the Standing Rock Sioux that they had engaged in discussions way before they did. I don’t think we would have been having this discussion if they did. We could have changed the route. It could have been done, but it’s too late.

However, in that September 30 meeting, Standing Rock officials expressed opposition and raised concerns about the potential impact that the pipeline would have on both sacred sites and water supply. Chuck Frey, ETP vice president for engineering, and Tammy Ibach, a local public relations professional, met with the tribe that day.

Standing Rock Tribal chairman Chairman Dave Archambault II told Frey and Ibach:

We recognize our treaty boundaries from 1851 and 1868, and because of that we oppose the pipeline. We have a standing resolution passed in 2012 that opposes the pipeline within that treaty boundary. This is something that the tribe is not supporting. We’ll listen to your presentation and then ask our Tribal Historic Preservation Officer to help remind your company of the federal laws that include Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act “requires Federal agencies… to consider the effects of Federally funded projects on historic properties and to afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) an opportunity to comment on such projects prior to the expenditure of any Federal funds.”

What treaty rights are these?

The 1868 Ft. Laramie treaty guarantees the undisturbed use and occupation of the homelands of the SR Reservation. Being that this has been written in treaty, it is the agreement between tribes and foreign governments. Although litigation has decreased the land that was promised in the 1868 treaty, the treaties were never revoked, leaving the treaties fully intact and enforceable.

Public comment on the draft environmental assessment (not a full environmental impact statement) closed in January 2015.

In February 2015, the Standing Rock Sioux raised questions about soil, unevaluated sites in two letters (February 18 and February 25). In April, the tribe noted that they had heard nothing in response to earlier concerns.

In a March 2015 letter (pdf), Philip S. Strobel, director of National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) Compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency, asked the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider its findings, to open a second public comment period, and to “provide a more thorough Environmental Justice (EJ) analysis.” The Department of the Interior (pdf) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (pdf) also expressed concerns in March letters.

By April 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux continued to meet with federal representatives and to ask for a re-evaluation of environmental impacts. Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault:

The Corps will get sued either way. If they approve of the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will sue them. If they reject it, Energy Transfer Partners will sue them.

By April 2016, the Sioux had established a spirit camp near Cannon Ball, ND. They named the camp Inyan Wakhanagapi Othi or Sacred Rock, which is the original name of the Cannon Ball area.


Local citizens objected to use of eminent domain to enrich a private party

Native Americans weren’t the only people in the western plains upset about pipeline permits.

In early 2015, private landowners in Nebraska sued to stop the use of eminent domain to grant TransCanada the land needed for the Keystone XL pipeline.

By mid-year, South Dakota landowners were in court, protesting the use of eminent domain to give ETP the “right” to buy their land for the Dakota Access Pipeline. Ditto farmers in North Dakota.

By October: one-third of the land needed for the DAPL in Iowa required the use of eminent domain, an action opposed by Iowa farmers. The Governor of Iowa supported its use. From the Des Moines Register:

Arthur Moeller of Fort Dodge, heir to a Calhoun County farm that has been in his family for 130 years, filed an objection to the pipeline project with the Iowa Utilities Board in in late October.

“Nowhere can we find that they have the assets and/or insurance coverage to adequately protect us now or in the future,” Moeller said. “The spills across the nation that are listed on the Internet show that it can take millions of dollars to clean them up, and in some cases it isn’t even possible… Eminent domain should not be granted to a private company for the benefit of a few at the expense of many.”

Surprisingly, in October 2015, then Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul told farmers he was against the use of eminent domain to enrich a private party.

There are times we have to use eminent domain for roads and things like that, but for this, if it is going to another private property owner, I don’t think the government should be taking property through eminent domain.


Listen to the recording from 2014




Q&A about the Dakota Access Project

Timeline, North Dakota pipeline


Featured image:
The DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) being installed between farms, as seen from 50th Avenue in New Salem, North Dakota, by Tony Webster, Flickr Creative Commons License.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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