Much confusion and consternation were generated when President Donald Trump signed a series of Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda regarding the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines specifically, pipelines in general, and environmental reviews overall early this past week.
The immediate reaction was to assume that such orders made the pipelines a done deal, and that construction would begin immediately. But the truth turns out to be more complex, given the underlying law that still must be complied with.
Standing Rock Chairman David Archambault chastised the Trump administration for failing to consult with the tribe before issuing the memorandum asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to expedite—or withdraw the intention to conduct—the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that is already under way. But he would have to pick a number; apparently most of the orders coming down over the past week, on a number of issues, were drafted without consulting federal agency lawyers, lawmakers or even the officials who would have to implement the policies, according to Politico.
One major issue of law that must be complied with is the EIS, and the time for public input is now. Until February 20, members of the public can submit comments about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and give the Army Corps something to chew on that will not only help with the study, but also will take time. Archambault has put out a call for people to comment, and the tribe has set up a page to make it easy.
For those looking to send or hand-deliver snail mail, or to e-mail directly, the Army Corps has detailed instructions on the Federal Register page where the EIS notice is posted.
“You may mail or hand deliver written comments to Mr. Gib Owen, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, 108 Army Pentagon, Washington, DC 20310-0108,” the ACOE says on its comments website. “Advance arrangements will need to be made to hand-deliver comments. Please include your name, return address, and ‘NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing’ on the first page of your written comments. Comments may also be submitted via e-mail to Mr. Gib Owen, at firstname.lastname@example.org. If emailing comments, please use “NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing” as the subject of your email.”
In the video below, environmental activist and former Senator Bernie Sanders campaign advisor Anthony Rogers-Wright speaks with The Young Turks (TYT) Politics Reporter Jordan Chariton, further explaining why the move isn’t a death knell for the opposition and emphasizing how essential the public’s input is.