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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 10, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 06
Sen. Maria Cantwell takes on Army Corps of Engineers

Action on DAPL is 'unlawful and unacceptable'
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Sen. Maria Cantwell takes on Army Corps of Engineers

Action on DAPL is 'unlawful and unacceptable'

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell has sent a letter critical of the Army Corps of Engineers to Donald Trump. At issue is the Corps' sudden approval of an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that would encroach on a lake supplying drinking water to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Cantwell was joined by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and senior Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee.

The Standing Rock Sioux opposed the pipeline project from its inception, and it had been blocked by the Obama administration. The tribe worried that any oil spill would destroy Lake Oahe, which provides drinking water for the Standing Rock Reservation and another reservation further down the Missouri River.

Trump, however, ordered an expedited review of DAPL as one of his first official acts.

'The arbitrary and capricious decision to grant the easement now ignores the rights of tribal governments, circumvents legal requirement, and stifles the voices of millions of people who have expressed concerns over the process to date,' Cantwell and colleagues said in a letter to Trump.

'Granting this easement without meaningful tribal consultation, or proper preview of environmental impacts, is unlawful and morally acceptable.'

Cantwell's letter noted that the Corps seemingly rushed to judgment at the demand of Donald Trump. It was Corps policy to notify Congress that it intended to grant an easement, and then wait at least 14 days before actually doing so.

The sudden DAPL easement 'violates that policy and circumvents appropriate congressional review,' the lawmakers told Trump.

'The United States has both a legal and moral responsibility to uphold its tribal treaty and trust responsibilities. This announcement demonstrates a total disregard for tribal rights, the rule of law, separation of powers, and transparency.'

The Seattle City Council has voted to oppose the DAPL project, and it decided on February 7 to end the city's financial relationship with Wells Fargo Bank over the bank's support of the pipeline.

Meanwhile, Standing Rock Sioux leaders vowed to continue their fight against the project.

'As native peoples, we have been knocked down again. But we will get back up, we will rise above the greed and corruption that has plagued our peoples since first contact,' tribal chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement.

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