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Lawmakers ask Army Corps to explain decision on Dakota Access Pipeline

Filed Under: Environment | National | Politics
More on: cheyenne river sioux, dakota access pipeline, donald trump, maria cantwell, north dakota, standing rock sioux, tom carper, usace
     
   

Alice Brown Otter, a young citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, addresses the Native Nations Rise rally at the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 10, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com / More on Flickr

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware) are asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to explain why it approved the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The lawmakers sent a letter to Todd T. Semonite, the commanding general of the Army Corps, on Monday, The Associated Press reported. Among other information, they want to know about contacts between the agency and the new Trump administration.

The Army Corps approved the final portion of the pipeline after President Donald Trump ordered an "expedited" review of the project. The decision came just three weeks after Trump took office and without a more complete review of the environmental impacts.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe continue to fight the project in federal court. They say they weren't properly consulted before the Army Corps allowed the pipeline to cross treaty territory in North Dakota. They also have raised concerns about treaties, sacred sites, religious practices and water resources.

The wealthy backers of the pipeline were able to finish work at Lake Oahe along the Missouri River about 49 days after securing approval from the Army Corps. That was a lot quicker than prior estimates.

Oil has been placed in the pipeline, which is located below the surface of the water, but the entire project is not yet full operational. The 1,172-mile route starts in North Dakota and runs through South Dakota and Iowa before ending in Illinois.

Cantwell is the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and a former chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Carper is the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Read More on the Story:
Senators want more details on Corps’ Dakota Access decisions (AP 4/5)

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