Update, 5/2/2021: In a status report filed in response to a federal judge’s request that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers state its position on a possible injunction shutting down the Dakota Access Pipeline, the agency reaffirmed its opposition to a shutdown. The answer puts the Biden administration on record as not merely taking no action to shut down the pipeline, but actively opposing taking the line out of operation due to health, safety and environmental concerns while impacts are adequately evaluated. Learn more here.
The Biden administration has said it will not take immediate action to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline while the government conducts a court-ordered environmental review of the pipeline, therefore allowing oil to continue flowing through the Tribe’s ancestral land and water supply. Although President Joe Biden recently announced intentions to improve Tribal consultation and take bold action to tackle climate change, his administration took a stance that is identical to that of former President Trump. The fight is not over. Urge the Biden administration to do the right thing and permanently shut the pipeline down after the environmental review is completed.
After the Environmental Impact Statement is completed, the pipeline will either receive or be denied permits to continue operating.
The administration’s lack of urgency is concerning as the pipeline’s continued operation is an affront to the Tribe’s sovereignty and safety. An oil spill could poison the Tribe’s drinking water, and millions downstream face a similar risk. The pipeline was built through the Tribe’s unceded ancestral lands, without its consent, and construction decimated their sacred sites.
It’ll be impossible to transition away from fossil fuels or show the rest of the world that the United States is serious about tackling climate change if we are just going to shrug and look away when the fossil fuel industry brazenly ignores Tribal concerns and tramples our federal environmental laws and safety regulations. We cannot restore U.S. climate leadership if we allow for longstanding environmental injustices to continue at home.
The Biden administration’s refusal to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for threatening the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water is deeply troubling, but the Tribe is going to continue fighting this. Act in solidarity with the Tribe by telling the Biden administration that the pipeline — and all existing and future pipelines — need to be shut down.