It seems like President Donald Trump is determined to get his way on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Senator John Hoeven and Congressmen Kevin Cramer, both of North Dakota, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will give the final approval necessary to move forward with the oil pipeline after an order from the acting secretary of the Army. But the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says the move is illegal, and they’re not backing down without a fight.
Hoeven said acting secretary Robert Speer informed Vice President Mike Pence and him of the impending approval. He said in a statement the pipeline would be constructed with safety features to provide protection for the Standing Rock Sioux.
But the tribe says there’s an environmental study going on that must be finished before the Army can grant the easement, and they’re planning to resist. In a statement posted on Facebook they said, “We stand ready to fight this battle against corporate interest superseding government procedure and the health and well-being of millions of Americans.”
You can make your voice heard as well. The Army is currently gathering information for the environmental impact statement which includes a “public scoping phase.” Members of the public are invited to share their concerns with the Army until February 20, 2017. You can mail your comments to Mr. Gib Owen, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, 108 Army Pentagon, Washington DC 20310-0108. You can also email Owen at [email protected] The Army requests you include your name, return address, and “NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline” on the first page of your letter, or if you’re sending an email, put “NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline” as your subject. More details can be found here.
There are still hundreds of people camping near the proposed pipeline route in North Dakota. Reuters reported at one point there were over 10,000 people in the camp; veterans and activists stood alongside Native Americans. Law enforcement has made over 600 arrests. Indigenous Environmental Network organizer Dallas Goldtooth said on Twitter Cramer was “trying to incite violence” by stating the Army gave their approval before it’s official.