Environment | Law | Politics

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe refutes White House claims of 'constant contact' on Dakota Access






Indianz.Com on YouTube: White House in 'Constant Contact' with Standing Rock

Tensions continue to simmer as the Dakota Access Pipeline becomes more of a reality with every passing day.

The wealthy backers of the project are within weeks of completing the final portion in North Dakota. Oil could be flowing even before the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe are heard fully in federal court, their last avenue of hope now that President Donald Trump has turned his back on them without once engaging in government-to-government consultation.

The latest sign of the dramatic disconnect came directly from the White House on Thursday. Press secretary Sean Spicer claimed the new administration has been in "constant contact" with Standing Rock and North Dakota's governor.

"Our team has been involved with both the tribe and the governor there, and so we are not only -- we are constantly in touch with them," Spicer said during his daily press briefing. "And I think we feel very confident that we will move forward to get the pipeline moving. And so we’ll have a further update on that, but I think we're in constant contact with the officials there."

But tribal leaders have strongly disputed the alternative characterization. Neither Standing Rock nor Cheyenne River were consulted when the Republican regime in Washington -- barely three weeks after Trump took office -- approved the pipeline without completing an environmental review.

“Spicer claimed that the Trump administration has been ‘constantly’ in contact with our tribe. That claim is absolutely false,” Chairman Dave Archambault II from Standing Rock said in a statement on Thursday.

“We repeatedly asked for meetings with the Trump administration, but never received one until the day they notified Congress that they were issuing the easement,” Archambault continued as he relayed a now familiar story of being slighted by the White House. “I was on a plane to Washington, D.C. when the easement was issued. It was an insult to me and to the tribe.”

In a press conference today, Sean Spicer claimed that the administration was constantly in touch with us. This is...

Posted by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Thursday, February 23, 2017
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Facebook: White House 'Fundamentally Wrong'

Chairman Harold Frazier from Cheyenne River shared a similar experience in a sworn declaration submitted in court this week. He said the Trump administration never responded to his requests for consultation before approving the pipeline even as the Army Corps sought his assistance in clearing the #NoDAPL encampment.

"The United States Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline is a clear case of allowing the fox to run the henhouse," the tribe said in an accompanying 56-page brief that seeks to overturn the pipeline's approval.

The two tribes are due back in court next week for arguments on a preliminary injunction against the pipeline. Additionally, both tribes are seeking summary judgment in hopes of setting aside the easement that the Army Corps granted to Dakota Access earlier this month.

The easement allows the firm to drill under the Missouri River and finish the 1,172-mile pipeline. According to a status update filed in court on Tuesday, work could be completed as early as March 6.

Dakota Access will be submitting another update on Monday ahead of the hearing, which takes place on February 28 at the courthouse in D.C.. The firm and the Army Corps are opposing the request for the injunction.

In addition to the court fight, Standing Rock leaders are preparing for Native Nations Rise in Washington. The event includes a symbolic camp near the Washington Monument starting on March 7 and concludes with a march to the White House on March 10.

Indian Country #NoDAPL Briefs:
Oglala Sioux Tribe (February 21, 2017)
Pueblo of Pojoaque / Association on American Indian Affairs / University of New Mexico School of Law Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic (February 21, 2017)
National Indigenous Women's Resource Center / 13 Tribes / 105 Non-Profit Organizations (February 21, 2017)
National Congress of American Indians / 34 Tribes / 11 Tribal Organizations / 2 Civil Rights Organizations (February 22, 2017)

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Termination of the Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in Connection With Dakota Access, LLC's Request for an Easement To Cross Lake Oahe, North Dakota (February 17, 2017)

Prior Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in Connection With Dakota Access, LLC's Request for an Easement To Cross Lake Oahe, North Dakota (January 18, 2017)

Dakota Access Pipeline Approval Documents:
Department of Justice Notice | Department of the Army Approval Memorandum | Notice of Termination of EIS for Dakota Access Pipeline | Easement Letter to Congressional Leadership

White House Documents:
Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (January 24, 2017)
Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline (January 24, 2017)
Executive Order Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects (January 24, 2017)
Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of American Pipelines (January 24, 2017)
Presidential Memorandum Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing (January 24, 2017)
Press Release: President Trump Takes Action to Expedite Priority Energy and Infrastructure Projects (January 24, 2017)

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