Pipeline fighters know the important role President Obama played in helping defeat the Keystone XL Pipeline. Today, four of us stepped forward with a letter to the President imploring him to exert the same type of leadership on the Bakken Pipeline.
I’m grateful to the collaborative effort that helped draft this letter: Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska and president of Bold Alliance, Dallas Goldtooth, coordinator of Indigenous Environmental Network and Frank James, director of Dakota Rural Action.
Below is the text of the letter we sent today to President Obama. If it is successful at persuading the President to insist that the Army Corps of Engineers conduct an Environmental Impact Statement, it could have a decisive impact on the Bakken Pipeline.
With that in mind, I have two important asks for you today:
1. Share the link to the full letter (complete with logos and contact detail for signatories) on Facebook, Twitter, or through your preferred social media venue. Click here for the letter.
2. Share the press release with one or more of media contacts. Click here for press release.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Dear President Obama,
Your rejection of the Keystone Pipeline was truly historic, and we again commend you for that bold act of foresight and leadership. Your decision sent a strong statement about the importance of protecting land, water and property rights. It also conveyed the message that climate change is a clear and present danger demanding America’s full commitment to ending our reliance on fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Again, we thank you.
With that frame of reference, we ask you in the strongest possible terms to exert the same clarion leadership with regards to the proposed Bakken Pipeline. Over the past twenty months farmers, ranchers, landowners, tribal leaders, property-rights advocates, environmentalists, attorneys, local elected officials and climate activists in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois have done everything possible to stop Dakota Access from building the pipeline.
In Iowa on March 10, despite overwhelming public opposition to the use of eminent domain for a private company (74% in a poll last year), and despite eroding public support for the pipeline itself (support dropped from 57% in 2015 to 47% in a recent poll), the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) issued Dakota Access a permit to build the pipeline, granting it the authority to use eminent domain. But that permit came with six conditions that Dakota Access had to meet before it could begin construction.
On April 9, the IUB determined that those conditions had been met, but made it clear that Dakota Access could not begin construction until the Army Corps of Engineers completes work on “issues that include endangered species, environmental issues, cultural resources and historical preservation.” [Bakken pipeline set to get a green light, Des Moines Register, April 9, 2016]
Two critical items are missing from the Corps’ intended course of action:
(1) Failure to properly consult with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on the pipeline’s impacts;
(2) A comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that includes the pipeline’s impact on climate change.
Regarding the failure to properly consult, as mandated by section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), revised regulations 36 CFR Part 800, the Corps is mandated to initiate consultation with tribes whose historic properties may be affected by the pipeline route. This includes consulting and coordinating with the aforementioned tribes on the identification of historic and tribal properties that may be adversely affected by pipeline construction and route. This entire process has not occurred properly.
Regarding the Environmental Impact Statement, letters to the Corps from the Environmental Protection Agency on March 11, Department of Interior on March 29, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation on March 15, all make it clear that the Corps’ efforts have fallen short.
Specifically, the Department of Interior’s letter to the Corps requests an “EIS to fully evaluate the potential impacts of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.” We concur.
A full Environmental Impact Statement, that is comprehensive to include climate change and cultural resources, is warranted for the entire 1134-mile pipeline route.
We respectfully request that you and your Administration make clear to the Corps that nothing less than a full EIS is demanded and expected.
Again, thank you for your strong leadership on renewable energy, climate change and a range of pressing environmental concerns. We are confident that your voice in this matter will further define your legacy as a President who acted with great foresight not just on the Keystone XL Pipeline but on the Bakken Pipeline as well.
Ed Fallon, Director, Bold Iowa
Jane Kleeb, Director, Bold Nebraska & Bold Alliance
Dallas Goldtooth, Coordinator, Indigenous Environmental Network
Frank James, Director, Dakota Rural Action
Podcasts from this week’s Fallon Forum can be heard here, and include:
– Human trafficking, with Robert Brownell and Kellie Markey
– Bakken Pipeline delayed
– The New Grassley
– Fight for $15, with Bridget Fagan of Iowa CCI
– War on the Amazon
Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live on Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, list live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– On KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA) Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. CT
– On WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– On KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)
Thanks! – Ed Fallon