Participants in Native Nations Rise gather outside of the headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on March 10, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Dakota Access Pipeline study still not finished after more than a year

A year ago this month, a federal judge delivered victory to tribal opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline, ruling that the Trump administration's approval of the final portion was flawed.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers subsequently promised to come up with a new analysis by April 2 of this year. But when it became clear that the agency wasn't going to meet the deadline, government attorneys blamed tribes for delaying the study.

Now the Trump team is offering an update on the process. According to a court filing first reported by The Associated Press, the Army Corps expects to issue a new decision in two months.

"The Corps expects to review all appropriate information and issue its decision on the remand issues no later than August 10, 2018," the status report reads.

Native Nations Rise

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

According to government attorneys, the Army Corps met with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on May 22, with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe on May 29, with the Yankton Sioux Tribe on May 31 and with the Oglala Sioux Tribe on June 1.

"To complete its review, the Corps plans to finish its consideration and analysis of the information submitted by the tribes and consider issues identified at the meetings with the tribes," the court filing reads.

Throughout the process, the tribes have raised concerns about oil spills, water resources and impacts on their treaty rights. Last June, Judge James Boasberg ruled that the Army Corps failed to consider those issues when it approved the final portion in North Dakota.

Despite the flaws, Boasberg refused to halt operations of the pipeline. Oil started flowing on June 1 and the tribes say they have been kept out of the loop by Energy Transfer Partners, whose top executive was a top donor to Trump's presidential campaign.

"Tribal first responders lack information that will be needed in the event of an oil spill – putting them at risk," Standing Rock said in a post on Facebook on Tuesday.

The final portion of the pipeline crosses Army Corps-managed land Lake Oahe, less than a half-mile from the Standing Rock border. The land lies within treaty boundaries.

Read More on the Story:
Corps to wrap up Dakota Access pipeline work in 2 months (The Associated Press June 11, 2018)