Raúl Grijalva: Tribes ignored once again as President Trump pushes oil pipelines

Native American protesters gathered in the nation’s capital in April 2014 during the lengthy battle to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline. Photo: Jim Dougherty

Republican President Donald Trump is promising jobs and more by reviving crude oil pipelines opposed by Indian Country. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona), the top Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources Committee, says tribes and their citizens shouldn't believe the lies:
For those who still insist fossil fuels are the future, the Trump administration represents a new day for some old ideas. In an early sign of things to come, the president showed his faith in big oil when he signed documents Tuesday pressuring federal agencies to support construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. Each of these projects faced enormous protests and was put on hold by the Obama administration because of legitimate environmental and due process concerns.

Congressional Republicans frequently howled at far less heavy-handed exercises of executive power under the previous administration. Today, they applaud Trump’s move on the mistaken premise that these pipelines are good investments. Not only will these projects not create long-lasting jobs – as CNBC, not exactly an anti-corporate mouthpiece, has noted: “Pipelines do not require much labor to operate in the long term” – they will further delay the inevitable transition to clean, renewable energy our economy needs and the American people demand.

Beyond risking our energy economy on what we now call “alternative facts,” these pipelines pose specific risks to Indian country – and President Trump ignores those risks at his own political peril. Keystone XL would run on top of the Ogallala Aquifer, a vast multi-state underground reservoir that provides water to millions of Americans, including many Native American tribes, across the midwest. Part of the Dakota Access Pipeline would run under Lake Oahe, a major water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. Consultation with Native American tribes in the construction of both pipelines has been feeble.

Read More on the Story:
Raúl M. Grijalva: The Keystone XL Pipeline Will Create Just 35 Permanent Jobs. Don’t Believe the Lies (Indian Country Today 1/28)

White House Documents:
Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (January 24, 2017)
Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline (January 24, 2017)
Executive Order Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects (January 24, 2017)
Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of American Pipelines (January 24, 2017)
Presidential Memorandum Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing (January 24, 2017)
Press Release: President Trump Takes Action to Expedite Priority Enery and Infrastructure Projects (January 24, 2017)

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in Connection With Dakota Access, LLC's Request for an Easement To Cross Lake Oahe, North Dakota (January 18, 2017)

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