Ranking Member Grijalva Statement on 176,000-Gallon Oil Spill in North Dakota: “We Can’t Say We Weren’t Warned”

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) released the following statement on this morning’s news of a 176,000-gallon oil spill from a ruptured pipeline in North Dakota. The spill occurred just 150 miles from the site of the water protector demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which Grijalva visited in September and highlighted in a Sept. 20 roundtable on Capitol Hill.

“Americans who support tribal rights, the environment and the rule of law stood in freezing temperatures for weeks against Dakota Access to make sure this kind of spill didn’t occur on sacred land. They were rewarded with aggressive policing, tear gas, water hoses and accusations of being hysterical. They were told pipelines don’t break any more and that their presence was unwelcome. We can’t say we weren’t warned, and I suspect the people of North Dakota wouldn’t mind a team of water protectors on their side today.”

The Army Corps of Engineers recently announced it would produce a formal environmental impact statement (EIS) before approving a property easement necessary for the Dakota Access Pipeline’s completion. Grijalva called on incoming Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to follow the EIS process rigorously and to consider the implications of another spill on Trump’s watch.

“If Mr. Trump wants fewer spills on his record, all he has to do is follow the law and oversee the oil industry responsibly,” Grijalva said. “Pretending human health and the environment aren’t important will lead to very visible, very public disasters that no amount of spin can wash away.”

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