Trump’s DAPL Order: What it Says, What’s Next, and Ways to Respond

From Mears Park rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
From Mears Park rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

By now, you’ve heard that President Trump signed an executive memorandum to put the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) on the fast track. He also signed an executive order that will weaken environment reviews for a number of infrastructure projects.

Below are links to the verbatim language that Trump signed, a brief look at what’s coming next, and what you can do to stop the pipeline, including tweeting the President and weighing in on the current DAPL environmental impact statement.

DAPL Executive Memorandum: “All Actions Necessary”

The President’s executive memorandum on DAPL directs the Army Corps of Engineers to take “all actions necessary and appropriate … to review and approve in an expedited manner,” whatever is needed to construct and operate DAPL.

Trump also issued a broader executive order that indicates a weakening of the current environmental review process for many projects, including DAPL and Keystone XL. It is titled:EXPEDITING ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS AND APPROVALS FOR HIGH PRIORITY INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS. It reads in part:

Too often, infrastructure projects in the United States have been routinely and excessively delayed by agency processes and procedures. …

[I]t is the policy of the executive branch to streamline and expedite, in a manner consistent with law, environmental reviews and approvals for all infrastructure projects, especially projects that are a high priority for the Nation, such as improving the U.S. electric grid and telecommunications systems and repairing and upgrading critical port facilities, airports, pipelines, bridges, and highways.

What’s Coming Next

The actions permitted in both the DAPL memorandum and the executive order still have to follow existing law. Expect litigation efforts to slow, if not stop, the project. For instance, during the last months of the Obama Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement to DAPL developers to drill under the Missouri River. The Corps began an environmental review process. That could provide a significant legal lever to slow the project.

MPR ran a story today headlined: What’s next for the Dakota Access, Keystone XL pipelines? It says:

Tribal attorney Jan Hasselman said what happens next will depend on how the Corps interprets the language. He said the tribe will fight in court any reversal of the Corps’ recent decision to conduct a full environmental study of the crossing — a process that could take up to two years.

Not completing a study “would be a gross violation of the tribe’s treaty rights,” he said.

We blogged Jan. 22 that the Standing Rock Nation had voted to close the camps that sprang up to stop the pipeline. However, it is unlikely that all protestors will leave. If DAPL developers start drilling, there is a very strong likelihood of more violent clashes.

Ways to Respond

Soon after Trump’s DAPL announcement, groups began sending action alerts. Here are a few.

Standing Rock Youth: Anna Lee, Bobbi Jean & the Oceti Sakowin Youth from Fort Yates, ND, started a petition to stop DAPL and post periodic updates. Yesterday, they posted: “We’re holding each other close today, and deciding what our next steps are. Nothing is very certain under this new administration, but we know for sure that we are going to need each and every one of your help.”

They made two requests:

  1. They have reopened their petition opposing DAPL. (It now has more than 460,000 signatures!) If you haven’t signed, please sign. If you have signed, please share it with your community. Click here to tweet it out, or click here to share it on Facebook.
  2. Please make a comment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Environmental Impact Statement is still in process, and the Department of the Army’s Civil Works division will be accepting public comments until February 20th. To affirm our claim that the pipeline poses grave environmental risks, please submit a comment here: http://bit.ly/2jZttfo.

Sierra Club: The Sierra Club has organized a writing campaign targeting Trump. Here is the text of a recent email:

President Trump has come out of the gate confirming that he is indeed the threat to our climate that we suspected he’d be. But these pipelines are far from being a done deal. The Keystone XL pipeline was rejected because it was determined not to be in the country’s best interest, and the environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline was ordered because of the threats it poses to the Standing Rock Sioux’s water supply.

Show President Trump that we will continue to fight these pipelines every step of the way.

Send him a Tweet now; then send a message directly to the White House.

Honor the Earth: Follow Honor the Earth. It has not issued a specific action yet, but it has a campaign against pipelines and is an important voice on this issue.

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2 thoughts on “Trump’s DAPL Order: What it Says, What’s Next, and Ways to Respond

  1. The executive order ” EXPEDITING ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS AND APPROVALS FOR HIGH PRIORITY INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS” – which includes “Pipelines” is very worrisome. It gives the authority to designate an infrastructure project as “High Priority” to the Chairman of the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ). Who’s the Chairman? And does he or she need to be confirmed by the senate? Currently the CEQ website is going to be updated. https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/chair/

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