The Army Corps of Engineers disappointed environmental groups and tribal leaders Wednesday by not amending a complex permitting system that expedites oil and gas pipeline approval.
The permit structure, which allowed for the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline, gives streamlined permission to pipeline projects intersecting with federally protected waters, rather than subjecting them to individual review for larger spill risk, climate impacts or tribal conflicts.
“I think the nationwide permit system serves a totally legitimate purpose for projects that have truly minor or beneficial actions, but it’s become a loophole for big projects with serious impacts, not just to water but to treaty rights and other tribal concerns,” Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman, who represents the Standing Rock Sioux, told Politico.
The NoDAPL struggle continues in Cannon Ball, as the remaining protesters dig in for the winter, clean up abandoned camps and warily look toward the upcoming Trump administration.
“This program rubber-stamps major projects like oil pipelines that leak and spill, degrading clean water and cultural sites,” said Jared Margolis, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Under the program, those projects proceed without regard for the people, places or wildlife in their paths.”
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