Environment | Law | National | Politics

House approves national water bill without #NoDAPL amendment






A prayer ceremony by residents of the Sacred Stone Camp led to a confrontation with authorities in North Dakota on September 28, 2016. #NoDAPL resisters witnessed "armed personnel with shotguns and assault rifles, military vehicles, and what looks like an aerial spray," according to a post on Facebook. Photo by Rob Wilson Photography [GoFundMe]

Lawmakers have once again approved a national water bill without addressing the high-profile #NoDAPL crisis.

By a vote of 399 to 25, the House passed H.R.5303, the Water Resources Development Act, on Wednesday afternoon. But key Democrats voiced objections because their #NoDAPL amendment went ignored by their Republican counterparts.

The House Rules Committee in fact twice refused to allow the amendment -- which was submitted by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Arizona) -- to be considered during debate on H.R.5303. At a regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday and at an unexpected meeting that took place around 11:15pm on Tuesday night, the Republican-controlled panel kept the #NoDAPL proposal off the table.

"Turning a blind eye and refusing to discuss those issues, even for five minutes, on the House floor sends a clear message to Indian Country that its concerns will not be heard in this Congress," Grijalva, who visited the #NoDAPL encampment earlier this month and hosted a forum on the issue on Capitol Hill last week, said on Wednesday after the dust settled.

The amendment would have prevented the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from approving a crucial portion of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline without an environmental review of the controversial project. That's something the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its many allies have been demanding as they seek to protect waters and sacred sites on and near the reservation in North Dakota from contamination.

“We must respect tribal sovereignty – period, end of story,” said Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado), who was a co-sponsor of the #NoDAPL amendment. “The Dakota Access Pipeline needs to be stopped before it destroys the environment and tribal cultural heritage."

The omission was all the more glaring because the Tuesday night meeting was called to address an amendment that had previously been deemed "Late" by the House Rules Committee. Grijalva's #NoDAPL proposal, on the other hand, had been submitted on time.

But higher powers intervened amid controversy over a different water crisis. Republican and Democratic leaders reached a deal to put the "Late" amendment to a vote in order to provide $170 million to address water contamination issues in Flint, Michigan, and in other communities.

With thousands of children facing serious health issues in Flint, lawmakers approved the amendment -- which was submitted by Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Michigan) -- by a vote of 284 to 141 on Wednesday afternoon.

H.R.5303 itself was then easily approved by a vote of 399 to 25, drawing support from almost every Republican and Democrat in the chamber.

Breaking: ND authorities deploy armed personnel with shotguns and assault rifles, military vehicles, and and aerial...

Posted by Sacred Stone Camp on Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sacred Stone Camp on Facebook: "ND authorities deploy armed personnel with shotguns and assault rifles, military vehicles, and what looks like an aerial spray on peaceful Water Protectors gathered in prayer." Photos by Rob Wilson Photography [GoFundMe]

While the bill does not directly address the Dakota Access Pipeline, it includes a amendment that requires the Army Corps to review its tribal consultation policies and provide Congress with answers to some important questions. The proposal -- which was adopted by a voice vote on Wednesday -- was submitted by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin), who has been an advocate for Indian Country issues.

Among other issues, the bill asks the Army Corps to determine whether its "current process adequately considers tribal interests including environmental, social, health and well-being of tribal members."

Incidentally, Moore's amendment had been deemed "Late" by the House Rules Committee this week but it was still allowed to be brought up for debate.

Another amendment to H.R.5303 brings finality to a long-running Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act dispute. It requires the Army Corps to transfer the remains of the Kennewick Man -- an 8,500-year-old Native ancestor who was removed from his resting place along the Columbia River in 1996 -- to the state of Washington.

The state would then allow for him to be reburied by his tribal relatives, who refer to him as the Ancient One. DNA tests confirmed a link to present-day Native peoples, including to members of the Colville Tribes in Washington.

'The Colville Tribes, along with the other claimant tribes, has always known that the Ancient One was our ancestor, and it is only right that he should be laid to rest in his homeland in the traditional way,” Chairman Michael Marchand said in a press release on Wednesday.

“I’m very grateful to the 22 Colville tribal members who provided DNA samples to help prove that the Ancient One is not only Native American, but our relative,” Marchand added. "We are now closer than ever to bringing him home."

The Kennewick Man provision -- which was a bipartisan effort from members of Congress in Washington and in Oregon -- was included in H.R.5303 by a voice vote on Wednesday.

Yet another amendment authorizes the Army Corps to transfer land to the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma provided that the tribe pays "fair market value" for the land. The property will then be placed in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The language -- which was submitted by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma), a member of the Cherokee Nation -- was added to the bill on Tuesday by a voice vote. Incidentally, it had also been deemed "Late" by the House Rules Committee.

With consideration complete on H.R.5303, lawmakers in the House and the Senate can now reconcile the differences in their respective versions. Both versions, for example, include the same Kennewick Man language.

But the Senate's version, S.2848, includes a provision that benefits the four tribes with treaty rights on the Columbia River. It seeks seeks to address the housing needs of Indian families who were displaced by the creation of the Bonneville Dam and the John Day Dam decades ago.

S.2848 also includes the entire text of S.2717, the Dam Repairs and Improvements for Tribes Act (DRIFT Act). The bill invests $655 million over 20 years to address dam maintenance across Indian Country.

Another provision in S.2848 addresses the Gold King Mine disaster that polluted the water systems on three reservations in the Southwest. The bill speeds up the reimbursement process for the Navajo Nation -- whose leaders have spent at least $3.8 million so far on emergency and other costs -- and other affected governments.

But the Senate's version does not include the Army Corps tribal consultation language and it ignored the #NoDAPL movement altogether. However, it provides more money -- $220 million -- for the water contamination crisis in Flint.

Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline remains on hold after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals put a halt to work for 20 miles on both sides of the Missouri River at Lake Oahe. A hearing on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's request for a more permanent injunction will take place next Wednesday, October 5.

Additionally, the Obama administration has said it will not approve work at Lake Oahe pending further review of issues raised by the tribe and its allies. That process is expected to take "weeks", a government attorney said during a court hearing on September 16.

Separately, the Department of Justice Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior have initiated formal consultation with tribes about large infrastructure projects like Dakota Access. A series of meetings will take place in October and November.

"I know that many of you have come together across tribes and across the country to support the community at Standing Rock. And together, you’re making your voices heard," President Barack Obama said at his final White House Tribal Nations Conference on Monday.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals #NoDAPL Documents:
Injunction Blocking Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline (September 16, 2016)
Order Setting October 5 Hearing (September 21, 2016)
Order Allocating Oral Argument Time (September 21, 2016)

Related Stories:
Mark Fogarty: Young Native journalists cover historic movement (9/28)
Peter d'Errico: Briefcase warriors must defend original nations (9/28)
Judge urges tribal coordination on complaint in #NoDAPL case (9/27)
Albert Bender: Spill confirms fears on Dakota Access Pipeline (9/27)
Sierra Club: More review needed for Dakota Access Pipeline (9/27)
Lakota Country Times: #NoDAPL lands before United Nations (9/26)
Gyasi Ross: Obama's legacy on the line with Dakota pipeline (9/26)
Obama administration asks tribes about infrastructure projects (9/23)
Mary Annette Pember: A young boy's journey to Standing Rock (9/23)
Harlan McKosato: Obama must keep promise to Indian people (9/23)
Appeals court in DC sets stage for October 5 #NoDAPL hearing (9/22)
Republican lawmaker eagerly defends Dakota Access Pipeline (9/22)
Bureau of Indian Affairs role in #NoDAPL 'task force' in doubt (9/22)
Mark Trahant: Politicians can no longer ignore the Native vote (9/22)
Native Sun News Today: Nation rallies to #NoDAPL movement (9/22)
Dave Archambault Sr.: History unfolds on Standing Rock land (9/22)
David Ganje: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe takes stand for water (9/22)
Democracy Now: Sacred Stone Camp founder standing ground (9/22)
Harold Monteau: #NoDAPL movement draws a line in the sand (9/22)
County sheriff leads investigation into #NoDAPL confrontation (9/21)
Federal appeals court sets October 5 hearing in #NoDAPL case (9/21)
Tribes deliver Wisconsin firewood to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (9/21)
Democrats host forum on Dakota Access Pipeline on Capitol Hill (9/21)
Leader of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe speaks at United Nations (9/20)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe tries to revive #NoDAPL complaint (9/20)
Tribes clash over new casino but agree on #NoDAPL movement (9/20)
Alex Jacobs: Scenes from Standing Rock resemble Selma in 60s (9/20)
Another rollercoaster week as #NoDAPL fight enters new phase (9/19)
Judge dissolves restraining order against Standing Rock leaders (9/19)
Zoltán Grossman: Cowboys are quiet as tribes unite for #NoDAPL (9/19)
Dave Archambault: Disaster placed on Standing Rock's doorstep (9/19)
David Gipp: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe stands up for life and water (9/19)
Terri Miles: That 'information point' at the #NoDAPL encampment (9/19)
Peter d'Errico: Be bold in fighting Dakota Access Pipeline in court (9/19)
Appeals court halts Dakota Access Pipeline work pending hearing (9/16)
Sparring continues in #NoDAPL lawsuit as tribes seek halt to work (9/16)
Bronson Koenig hosts basketball clinic for youth at Standing Rock (9/16)
Senate passes water bill but fails to include #NoDAPL amendment (9/15)
White House to respond to #NoDAPL petition with 203K signatures (9/15)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Prophecy and the people at Standing Rock (9/15)
Mark Trahant: There is something we can do to help Standing Rock (9/15)
Native Sun News Today: #NoDAPL movement forges ahead to win (9/15)
Mary Annette Pember: Indigenous women lead prayers for water (9/15)
Steve Russell: Legal encounters and the Dakota Access Pipeline (9/15)
Emotions run strong as #NoDAPL seeps into debate on lands bill (9/14)
Defenders of the Water School is going strong at #NoDAPL camp (9/14)
Key House Democrats call for hearing on Dakota Access Pipeline (9/14)
Brandon Ecoffey: Pipeline destroys our sacred and cultural sites (9/14)
Jori Kaniehtakohe Rourke: Our people unite in #NoDAPL battle (9/14)
Hundreds rally at White House to block Dakota Access Pipeline (9/13)
Judge won't grant injunction to protect sacred sites in DAPL path (9/12)
Democracy Now: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe creates 'awakening' (9/12)
Mark Trahant: #NoDAPL movement forces long overdue debate (9/12)
Matthew Fletcher: Obama joins tribes on the right side of history (9/12)
Steve Russell: Anonymous makes appearance in #NoDAPL fight (9/12)
Liz Perez Halperin: Why this warrior stands up for Standing Rock (9/12)
Obama steps in with major action halting Dakota Access Pipeline (9/9)
Tribes move quickly to protect sacred lands within pipeline path (9/9)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe thanks Obama for #NoDAPL stance (9/9)
Indian Country eagerly anticipates decision in #NoDAPL lawsuit (9/9)
Lakota Country Times: Henry Red Cloud takes stand for #NoDAPL (9/9)
Ernestine Chasing Hawk: A history of resistance at Standing Rock (9/9)
Steve Russell: Legal encounters and the Dakota Access Pipeline (9/9)
Obama dodges #NoDAPL query as youth question commitment (9/8)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe urges calm ahead of #NoDAPL ruling (9/8)
Mark Trahant: White House must get involved in #NoDAPL fight (9/8)
Native Sun News Today: Law clamps down on #NoDAPL resisters (9/8)
Ivan Star Comes Out: #NoDAPL movement is about sacred water (9/8)
Jim Gray: Mainstream media is missing the major #NoDAPL story (9/8)
Gyasi Ross: Doing your part to ensure #NoDAPL keeps on winning (9/8)
Sheriff recruiting more law enforcement for #NoDAPL campsites (9/8)
#NoDAPL movement takes center stage at North Dakota summit (9/7)
Lakota Country Times: School going strong at #NoDAPL campsite (9/7)
Mark Charles: The #NoDAPL struggle continues after hearing in DC (9/7)
Dave Archambault II: The Dakota Access Pipeline musn't be built (9/7)
Eastern Cherokees contribute $50K to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (9/7)
Jill Stein of Green Party faces charges for standing with #NoDAPL (9/7)
Dave Archambault: Dakota Access Pipeline destroys sacred sites (9/7)
Steven Newcomb: Vicious dogs unleashed on #NoDAPL resisters (9/7)
Mike Myers: Historic ties between the Haudenosaunee and Sioux (9/7)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe disappointed with ruling in #NoDAPL case (9/6)
Dakota Access fires back at tribes ahead of hearing in federal court (9/6)
Lakota Country Times: Tribes still united at #NoDAPL encampment (9/6)
Native Sun News: Death highlights dangers of Dakota Access work (9/6)
Hearing ordered after Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reports destruction (9/5)
Army Corps backs restraining order against Dakota Access Pipeline (9/5)
Quinault Nation sends Grandfather Canoe to #NoDAPL encampment (9/5)
Sarah Sunshine Manning: Dogs attack peaceful #NoDAPL resisters (9/5)
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard: We have no choice but to defend water (9/5)
Jacqueline Keeler: #NoDAPL resistance is part of something bigger (9/5)
Steve Russell: Federal Indian law and the Dakota Access Pipeline (9/5)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reports cultural finds near pipeline path (9/2)
Mark Trahant: #NoDAPL poses test for Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (9/2)
Native Sun News: Cartoonist brings humor to #NoDAPL movement (9/2)
Tribal activists cheer demise of controversial pipeline in Minnesota (9/2)
United Nations Forum backs Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on #NoDAPL (9/1)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne Tribe joins #NoDAPL efforts (9/1)
Jim Kent: The real truth about the #NoDAPL resistance movement (9/1)
Mark Trahant: Candidate shows support for #NoDAPL movement (9/1)
Lakota Country Times: #NoDAPL roadblock remains a major issue (8/31)
Brandon Ecoffey: #NoDAPL resistance is the start of a movement (8/31)
Dave Archambault: Struggle unfolds on Standing Rock Sioux land (8/31)
Terri Miles: Indian Country unites to stare down the black snake (8/31)
Joel Heitkamp: Officials in North Dakota need a lesson in respect (8/31)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe confirms lack of easement for pipeline (8/30)
Supplies needed for #NoDAPL Defenders of Sacred Water School (8/30)
Lakota Country Times: Students witness history at pipeline camp (8/30)
Vi Waln: Media distorts peaceful nature of sacred #NoDAPL camp (8/30)
Mike Myers: Historic ties between the Haudenosaunee and Sioux (8/30)
Mark Anthony Rolo: Tribes remain at mercy of bad federal policies (8/30)
Defenders of the Water School opens at pipeline resistance camp (8/29)
Lakota Country Times: Resisters dispute emergency declaration (8/29)
Dave Archambault: Stopping the desecration of our Mother Earth (8/29)
Mark Trahant: State erects roadblock at peaceful #NoDAPL camp (8/29)
Latoya Lonelodge: Witnessing history at Camp of Sacred Stones (8/29)
Jon Eagle: Land remains sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (8/29)
Albert Bender: Tribes join together at Camp of the Sacred Stones (8/29)
Steven Newcomb: Law of Christendom at play in #NoDAPL battle (8/29)
Arvol Looking Horse: Saving our Earth from energy development (8/29)
Tribal Tribune: Unity at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's #NoDAPL camp (8/26)
Winona LaDuke: Corporate interests come to destroy our mother (8/26)
Sarah Sunshine Manning: #NoDAPL campaign awakens our people (8/26)
Dakota Access Pipeline lacks key approval to build by reservation (8/26)
Lummi Nation sends totem pole to #NoDAPL camp in North Dakota (8/26)
Dave Archambault: Why the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is fighting (8/25)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe chair dispels rumors about camp site (8/25)
Sen. Bernie Sanders joining opposition to Dakota Access Pipeline (8/25)
Native Sun News: Thousands join #NoDAPL resistance movement (8/25)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sees strong support at pipeline hearing (8/24)
Kayla DeVault: Navajo Nation must take a stand on Dakota Access (8/24)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe seeks prayers ahead of pipeline hearing (8/23)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe joins fight against pipeline (8/23)
Brandon Ecoffey: The Horse Nations prepare for battle over pipeline (8/23)
Simon Moya-Smith: Hillary Clinton remains silent amid pipeline feud (8/23)
Steven Newcomb: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe challenges domination (8/23)
Sheriff mistook sacred pipes for pipe bombs at pipeline protest site (8/23)
Tribes prepare for critical hearing in Dakota Access Pipeline lawsuit (8/22)
Mark Trahant: Pipeline fight highlights power of political organizing (8/22)
Lakota Country Times: Tribes unite to stop Dakota Access Pipeline (8/22)
Vi Waln: Our water system is being threatened by energy pipelines (8/22)
Winona LaDuke: Bigger problems ahead for Dakota Access Pipeline (8/22)
Dallas Goldtooth: Tribes shut out of Dakota Access Pipeline process (8/22)
Native Sun News: Resistance grows against Dakota Access Pipeline (08/18)
Harold Frazier: Obama must put a stop to Dakota Access Pipeline (08/15)
Tribes and Native youth join forces in campaign to stop oil pipeline (08/11)
Democrats embrace tribal sovereignty in platform for convention (07/08)
Dakota Access Pipeline to go underneath tribal burial site in Iowa (06/22)
Native Sun News: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe battles oil pipeline (06/08)
Iowa board approves energy pipeline work amid tribal objections (06/07)
Native Sun News: Tribes score big in fights against energy projects (05/26)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe seeks halt to construction of pipeline (05/12)
Native Sun News: Youth run 500 miles to protest new oil pipeline (05/11)
Native Sun News: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe aims to stop pipeline (04/27)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Army Corps to discuss oil pipeline (04/26)
Native Sun News: Tribes gaining traction in war against pipelines (04/20)
Brandon Ecoffey: Tribes continue battle against energy pipelines (04/19)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sets up sacred camp to oppose pipeline (04/15)
Native Sun News: Tribes organize against Dakota Access Pipeline (04/13)
Iowa Tribe joins fight against oil pipeline on aboriginal territory (3/24)
Native Sun News: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe battles pipeline plan (3/14)
Native Sun News: Tribes fight another pipeline through Great Plains (07/07)
Meskwaki Tribe opposes oil pipeline through aboriginal territory (03/17)