By William F. Shughart II, Morning Consult, October 28, 2016
With its recent decision to deny the temporary injunction requested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed what supporters of the Dakota Access Pipeline have maintained fervently all along: the more-than-halfway finished pipeline satisfied every one of the myriad state and federal regulations that govern its construction and eventual operation. That alone should be enough for the Obama administration to comply with its own permitting process, and allow the project to resume.
Equally compelling are Dakota Access’s real benefits to America’s economy, our domestic infrastructure and national security.
North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois — the four states traversed by the 1,172-mile DAPL — engaged in a meticulous two-plus-yearlong project review. So, too, did the United States Army Corp of Engineers. All five of these public bodies determined, conclusively, that Dakota Access was safe, that its route did not disrupt any areas of cultural significance, and that it fell well within the compliance parameters of the individual states’ laws, as well as those of the federal government.
From the beginning, Dakota Access emphasized commitment to consulting its Native American neighbors and to transparency. All available evidence — very much including the 389 meetings with 55 tribes arranged by the USACE – supports those claims. So, too, do the more than 140 modifications made voluntarily to the pipeline’s route itself. This is why even neutral observers can make the case that Dakota Access not only merited favorable certification, permitting and full approval, but earned them as well.