Harold Frazier, the chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, addresses a #NoDAPL rally outside of the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., on August 24, 2016.
The leader of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is firing back at Republican President Donald Trump as the war over the Dakota Access Pipeline enters a new and highly-charged political phase.Chairman Harold Frazier took issue with the presidential memorandum that Trump signed in the Oval Office on Tuesday. He said the directive ignores the Sioux Nation’s treaty rights and their right to be consulted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”The United States Constitution declares that treaties with Indian tribes are the Supreme Law of the Land,” Frazier said on Tuesday. “President Trump cannot steamroll over the Constitution and our treaties. Not to mention the Corps’ own policies requiring consultation with affected tribes.”Frazier’s comments came after the White House released the text of the document, a few hours after the signing ceremony. The memo calls for an “expedited” consideration of the final portion of the pipeline at Lake Oahe in North Dakota, upstream from the Cheyenne River Reservation.
As part of the directive, Trump opened the door for the Department of the Army to withdraw a new environmental review that was initiated just two days before he took office. Instead, he indicated that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers might be able to use an environmental assessment released last July as the basis for approving the final portion of the pipeline.But the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe note that the assessment never took into account treaty rights or impacts on water resources. That’s why the Indian Country and the #NoDAPL movementsupported a more thorough review of the crossing at Lake Oahe.“If this pipeline is so safe, then why did they reroute it from north of Bismarck to our lands and waters?’ Frazier said. “Our lands and waters were reserved in treaty with the United States and must be protected!”Both tribes are part of an ongoing lawsuit that challenges the permitting process for the pipeline. But they agreed to put their complaints on hold in order for a federal judge to focus on the crossing at Lake Oahe.The wealthy backers of the pipeline insist they were already granted approval to complete work at Lake Oahe by the July 2016 environmental assessment. A hearing on the matter is expected sometime in February and a decision would come sometime after that.Trump’s memorandum doesn’t outright order the Army or the Army Corps to approve the crossing so it’s not clear how his directive will impact the litigation. But the Department of Justice provided notice on Tuesday afternoon to Judge James E. Boasberg to inform him of the development.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)