Published April 7, 2017
WASHINGTON – Two Democratic United States senators are seeking answers for the 180-degree turn the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took to grant an easement for the Dakota Access pipeline after Donald Trump signed his presidential memorandum soon after assuming the presidency. It was an abrupt turn from when the December 4, 2016 decision not to grant the easement under the watch of the Obama administration.
Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and Tom Carper (D-Delaware) wrote a letter, dated April 3, 2017, to Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, commanding general and chief of engineers at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) calling into the question the lack of transparency by the Corps in its abrupt change.
The senators are demanding full documentation of the process, including any and all communications with the Trump transition team and administration.
“Several news reports indicate that Energy Transfer Partners and its subsidiary Sunoco Logistics, who will operate the Dakota Access pipeline, have violated environmental and other legal requirements in the construction and operation of pipeline projects that have resulted in more than $22 million in government fines since 2010,” the senators write in part.
The two senators reference the nearly 17 million people who live downstream from where the pipeline crosses the Missouri River.
They go to ask: “Does the Corps have a plan or has it considered any alternative options to protect and provide access to clean drinking water to these citizens if the construction or operation activities of Energy Transfer Partners and their subsidiaries related to the Dakota Access pipeline contaminate their water supplies?”
The two senators are ranking members of the Senate committees on the Environment & Public Works and Energy & Natural Resources. The are asking the Corps respond to their demands by April 12, 2017.
CLICK to read the Letter to US Army Corps from Senators.