On October 10, 2016, Honor the Earth, the Sierra Club and the Indigenous Environmental Network submitted a 30-page letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers. The letter explains why the USACE is prohibited by federal law from issuing DAPL any more permits, including the final outstanding easement for the Missouri River crossing at Standing Rock, and why they are required by federal law to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement on the Dakota Access pipeline.
A clause in Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act states that if a company is caught intentionally destroying archaeological or cultural sites in the path of the project, the US government cannot legally give them any more permits. This is exactly what DAPL did on September 3. On Friday, September 2, the day before Labor Day weekend, Standing Rock submitted to the court detailed findings of rare cultural sites, which include 27 graves, stone prayer rings, and other sacred artifacts directly in the path of the proposed pipeline. Early the next morning, a Saturday, DAPL brought in construction crews and bulldozed the specific areas described by Standing Rock in their filing. When protectors of the site entered the construction area, private security guards attacked them with dogs and pepper spray.
Also, the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) requires the US Army Corps to conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement on this project. In order to avoid doing a full EIS with public participation, the Corps used Nationwide Permit 12 to segment the project into over 1,000 easily rubber stamped pieces. But by law, the Corps cannot authorize a project under Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) if the project would have more than “minimal adverse environmental effects.” The HTE/SC/IEN letter includes an analysis of spill and contamination risk, climate change impacts through greenhouse gas emissions, and the environmental justice dimensions of the controversial project. Because the Corps never included any of these topics in their review, the letter calls on them to revoke all permits within their jurisdiction and go back and complete the EIS, with full formal consultation with impacted tribal governments.
View or download the full 30-page letter from Honor the Earth, Sierra Club, and the Indigenous Environmental Network.
View or download a 2 page summary of the letter.