Grijalva Thanks Obama, Hails Announcement That Dakota Access Pipeline Will Be Subject to Full Environmental Impact Analysis

Washington, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today hailed the announcement that the Dakota Access Pipeline Project – the subject of months of demonstrations that included law enforcement spraying unarmed water protectors with high-pressure water hoses in freezing conditions – will be subject to a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act, which will include a public comment period and a full assessment of the proposed pipeline’s impacts to water quality, sacred land and other resources. The decision by the Army Corps of Engineers not to grant an easement on a parcel of land along the pipeline route, which now triggers the EIS process, is a significant victory for advocates of tribal sovereignty and clean water.

In hailing the announcement, Grijalva thanked the Department of Justice for sending observers to the area late last week, a move that followed a Nov. 14 letter led by Grijalva and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) signed by 21 of their colleagues urging President Obama to take that step, among others, and  a Nov. 28 letter from Grijalva and Huffman requesting a meeting with President Obama and key agency personnel to discuss the issue. Grijalva has made protecting the rights of tribal members and water protectors at the Standing Rock sites a major priority since his visit to meet with tribal leaders in early September.

“The Army Corps of Engineers made the obvious decision to subject this enormous, controversial project to the same environmental standards we would apply to any other project like it,” Grijalva said. “President Obama has handled a difficult situation with care and concern for the equities involved, and I thank him wholeheartedly for taking the necessary steps here. This is a big win for tribal rights, for environmental quality and for every American who has stood in solidarity with the water protectors in North Dakota. It now falls to the Trump administration to follow the law, treat this entire process with the respect and seriousness it demands, and honor the sacrifices of the Americans who put themselves in harm’s way to demand justice at Standing Rock.”

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