Today, the Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and Department of the Interior released a statement on the Standing Rock injunction. In it, they say the Army will not allow construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline on Corps land bordering or underneath Lake Oahe until further notice.
Read the full statement here:
“We appreciate the District Court’s opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain. Therefore, the Department of the Army, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior will take the following steps.
The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws. Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time. The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.
“Furthermore, this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects. Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations on two questions: (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals.
“Finally, we fully support the rights of all Americans to assemble and speak freely. We urge everyone involved in protest or pipeline activities to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. Of course, anyone who commits violent or destructive acts may face criminal sanctions from federal, tribal, state, or local authorities. The Departments of Justice and the Interior will continue to deploy resources to North Dakota to help state, local, and tribal authorities, and the communities they serve, better communicate, defuse tensions, support peaceful protest, and maintain public safety.
“In recent days, we have seen thousands of demonstrators come together peacefully, with support from scores of sovereign tribal governments, to exercise their First Amendment rights and to voice heartfelt concerns about the environment and historic, sacred sites. It is now incumbent on all of us to develop a path forward that serves the broadest public interest.”
Statement from Senator John Hoeven on the DoJ's statement:
“The Corps, the company and the tribe need to work together to come up with a solution. We also need to understand what the administration intends to do and how it plans to arrive at a timely resolution. And finally, as we’ve said all along, any protests need to be safe, respectful and within the law.” Sen. John Hoeven
Statement from Senator Heidi Heitkamp on today's events:
“It’s disappointing that today’s back-to-back federal court ruling and Administration decision brought more questions than answers – with no light at the end of the tunnel for North Dakotans. For our state’s close-knit communities, this prolonged lack of certainty is particularly painful, and I’ll press the Administration and various agencies for the finality they deserve. Going forward, my main focus will be on making sure that tribes are able to exercise their First Amendment right to protest peacefully, and workers are able to do their jobs safely. It’s incumbent upon all of us, even in times where our communities are fractured, to treat one another with the respect and dignity that is intrinsically North Dakotan.”
Statement from Governor Jack Dalrymple:
“We are reviewing the judge’s ruling as well as the information from the Department of Justice, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior and we will be discussing them with our congressional delegation.”
Statement from Representative Kevin Cramer:
"It seems more than a little confusing that moments after a federal judge issued an order stating, among other things, that the Corps of Engineers and the pipeline company did everything the law requires of them and more, the Obama Administration decides to change the rules. If this was their intent all along, they should have said so before the events of the last several weeks. They could have spared a lot of heartache and cost. Their decision today does nothing to ensure certainty or calm, but rather adds further confusion. It is fundamentally unfair to change the rules after the game.
It is incumbent upon all parties to move forward peacefully and expeditiously, within the law, to come to a resolution that honors the rights of lawful commerce."