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Keystone XL, Dakota Access pipeline decisions reversed, protests continue

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SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock

Environmental and Native American rights supporters were both dealt serious blows last week with the Jan. 24 announcement that President Donald Trump had signed executive orders to resume construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

The move comes at an especially critical time in the case of the Dakota Access pipeline. Back in December, the Army Corps of Engineers called a halt to construction, pending an environmental impact review of risks posed to the nearby North Dakota Sioux Reservation's water supply. That decision followed months of Standing Rock protests during which thousands of Native Americans, veterans and environmental activists stayed in encampments outside the reservation ("Occupy America," Cover, Dec. 28).

Although the new president's reversal of the Obama administration's policies was not unexpected, what happens next is not entirely clear. The order instructs the Army Corps of Engineers to take action "in an expedited manner" and "to the extent permitted by law and as warranted."

Given that wording, it's still conceivable that a compromise will be made in which the pipeline is rerouted away from the reservation, if only to avoid legal challenges in the District of Columbia Circuit Court. Trump did, after all, author the book on the art of the deal. — BF

Protests continue

NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein

In the latest local protest of President Donald Trumps' actions, about 300 people gathered outside City Hall on Jan. 29 to protest Trump's executive order to revive the stalled Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. They heeded a call from Unite Colorado Springs to come hear speakers from various environmental and activist groups before setting off on a short march through downtown.

"We are not going to let Trump steal these victories without a fight!" former state Representative Dennis Apuan of the Colorado Springs Council for Justice declared, referring to hard-won progress on energy policy and land conservation over the past eight years.

Protesters carried a diverse array of messages about respecting indigenous rights, protecting the environment and resisting the new administration. Without a parade permit, marchers kept to the streets, chanting slogans like, "resist, rise up, keep the pipeline down" and "the people, united, will never be divided!"

The Army Corps of Engineers is preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) relating to Dakota Access LLC's request for an easement to build the Dakota Access pipeline under a contested section of the Missouri River near the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota ("Water warriors," Cover, Nov. 23). You can send your opinions to Mr. Gib Owen, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, 108 Army Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20310-0108 or email them to gib.a.owen.civ@mail.mil until public comment closes on Feb. 20. For more on upcoming actions in the area, visit the Indy Blog at csindy.com. — NS

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