The hearings will offer the public and expert witnesses the opportunity to testify as to the impact of federal decision making on the environment, the social and well being impacts of the proposed project; and provide documentation which has not yet been considered in any review.
In mid October, Honor the Earth, with the Sierra Club and the Indigenous Environmental Network sent a letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers, asking for a full environmental impact statement on the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. The 570,000 barrel per day of fracked oil pipeline which crosses wet lands, rivers, plows through Native sacred sites and cemeteries, puts at risk the water of the poorest people in North Dakota, while sparing Bismarck. The organizations say DAPL bypassed the intent of the law, and that under federal regulations, an EIS can be requested of the Army Corps of Engineers if there is new information, or information not reviewed previously by the Corps.
In the October 10 letter, the organizations noted, “ The National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) dictates that “[a]gencies…[s]hall prepare supplements to either draft or final environmental impact statements if…[t]here are significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts.” The organizations are asking for a full environmental impact statement, based on the new findings.
Under the law, (a 404 permit), the Army Corps of Engineers must provide “notice and an opportunity for public hearings” and evaluate the project’s impacts pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (That’s the one that keeps, for instance your drinking water clean, and the poisons out of air of residential communities).
That didn’t happen. Instead the Army Corps used regulatory review called the Nationwide Permit process. The Clean Water Act’s general permit program was intended for projects with minimal environmental impacts, or result in under a half acre loss of waters. This is for essentially boat ramps, mooring buoys, and recreational facilities.
The letter notes, “The Corps avoided this transparent review process for DAPL by approving each of the thousands of water crossings along the pipeline route under the fast-track Nationwide Permit 12 process…the Corps has begun segmenting massive interstate pipelines like DAPL by artificially treating the thousands of water crossings as separate projects that each qualify separately under NWP 12. In this way, the Corps has approved the 1,168-mile DAPL crude oil pipeline under NWP 12 without any project specific§404 review process.” The Sierra Club, with Honor the Earth and the IEN, suggest that this process was circumvented in the DAPL proceeding, and does not meet the requirements of the intent of the law.”
Then there’s the problem of the desecration. There are laws to protect historic and sacred sites. “…On Friday, September 2, the day before Labor Day weekend, Standing Rock submitted to the court detailed findings rare cultural sites, which include 27 graves, stone prayer rings, and other sacred artifacts directly in the path of the proposed pipeline. There are at least 380 archeological sites that face desecration along the entire pipeline route. NHPA actually prohibits the Corps from issuing the final permit/easement for… Lake Oahe if it determines that the company engaged in anticipatory demolition; that is, if DAPL intentionally destroyed or adversely affected potential historic sites along the pipeline’s path…Early the next morning, DAPL responded by bringing in construction crews and bulldozing 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…”
“This demolition is devastating,” Tribal Chairman Archambault said. “These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings there cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.”
Then there’s what’s fair. On August 18, the Bismarck Tribune revealed that DAPL had routed the pipeline through Standing Rock’s ancestral lands and under its drinking water supply to avoid jeopardizing the drinking water supply of Bismarck, ND. The paper reported, “early in the
Planning process, Dakota Access considered,“ (crossing) …”Missouri River about 10 miles north of Bismarck…; but rejected that option…due to the costs associated with the “proximity to
Wellhead source water protection areas (of) municipal water supply wells.” Instead the pipeline went upstream from the main drinking water intake for the Lakota.
Additional concerns, in the least, may be the 250,000 metric tons daily of carbon this project would add to the already carbon challenged environment and the clear lack of regulation by the state of North Dakota which has resulted in, according to the National Sciences Foundation,” widespread groundwater contamination” from fracking.
Just as an example, since January of 2016 over l000,000 gallons of crude oil waste oil, bio solids, natural gas and brine have been spilled into the waters of the region, along with about 50,000 gallons of slaked lime solids which slid into the Missouri River. North Dakota’s Industrial commission has been levying some fines, but not collecting them... In 2015, and 2016, the Commission proposed a total of $4.5 million in penalties, and collected $126,000 or so. In short, the Standing Rock tribe, as well as most of us may have a few questions.
TRIBAL ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
NOVEMBER 4, 2016
SRST Admin Conference Rooms 1-4PM
NOVEMBER 9, 2016
Prairie Knights Casino 1-4 PM
NOVEMBER 21, 2016
Grand River Casino 4-8 PM
NOVEMBER 22, 2016
Prairie Knights Casino 4-8 PM
Public comment will be received and recorded to address public concerns for the environment and the potential impacts to the drinking water, tribal wildlife, natural resources, spiritual, historical and cultural sites of Standing Rock by processes and approvals of Federal Agency permits, Environmental Justice issues in project planning, large industrial projects and the National Environmental Policy Act, projects impacts on safe drinking water, air quality and tribal water rights.
Written comment will be received postmarked until DECEMBER 5, 2016 at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Attn: Hearing on the Environment, PO Box D. Fort Yates ND 58538
For more information on the hearings, or to attend and present, please contact Allyson Two Bears at the Standing Rock Environmental Office, [email protected]
Honor has posted the hearings into event's pages onto Facebook, we welcome sharing and inviting your relatives: https://www.facebook.com/WinonaLaDukeHonorTheEarth/events/