Thousands of tribal citizens and their allies marched through the streets of Washington, D.C., for Native Nations Rise on March 10, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) -- More Photos on Flickr
Environment | Law | National

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe demands consultation on DAPL study

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is demanding to be consulted by the Trump administration on a revised decision for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In a court filing on Wednesday, the tribe said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been "almost completely non-responsive" to its requests for government-to-government consultation. The submission was first reported by The Associated Press.

"Thus far, all tribal efforts to engage in meaningful consultation with the Corps on remand have been ignored," the filing stated. "As a result, the tribe has been excluded from the remand process and has been denied the opportunity to provide meaningful information relevant to the remand."

The agency, however, continues to work closely with the wealthy backers of the $3.8 billion pipeline, government attorneys admitted in a separate document.

"The Corps is currently reviewing various submittals from Energy Transfer Partners including a risk analysis, Integrity Management Plan, environmental justice data, and hunting and fishing impacts analysis," the government wrote in a February 1 status report. "The Corps also has been having ongoing discussions with Energy Transfer Partners (including two meetings on December 21, 2017 and January 24-25, 2018) about the information they have provided."

Last October, a federal judge ordered the Army Corps to come up with a revised decision on the pipeline. He pointed to "deficiencies" in the Trump administration's handling of the controversial project, which he said failed to take tribal concerns about treaty rights and other issues into account.

According to the government's status report, the Army Corps is on track to issue the new decision on or around April 2. The tribe contends its concerns will not be fully addressed unless the court orders "meaningful consultation."

Native Nations Rise

Native Nations Rise
Indianz.Com on Flickr: Native Nations Rise in Washington, D.C.

Oil began flowing through the pipeline on June 1, 2017, after the Trump administration approved the final portion in North Dakota without consulting the affected tribes. Two weeks later, Judge James Boasberg said the Army Corps should have taken the tribal concerns into account but he did not order a halt to operations.

A follow-up decision in November reconfirmed the "deficiencies" in the administration's handling of the controversial project. Again, Boasberg denied a tribal request to stop oil from flowing.

The final portion of the pipeline is located at Lake Oahe along the Missouri River. The crossing is less than a half-mile from the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. It also lies upstream from the reservation of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

Both tribes retain water, hunting, fishing and other rights at Lake Oahe under treaties signed with the United States.

Read More on the Story:
Tribe says it's being left out of Dakota Access study (The Associated Press February 8, 2018)
Tribe asks court to force Trump admin to consult on analysis (E&E News February 9, 2018)

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