Lakota People’s Law Project
The decision by President Biden’s Army Corps of Engineers not to shut down the oil flow through the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) despite its lack of a valid permit — and opposition from tribal governments and hundreds of thousands of activists — is a failure of leadership, according to leaders of the Lakota People’s Law Project.
Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota People’s Law Project Co-Director and Lead Counsel, faced major charges and the possibility of years in prison for peacefully protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016 and 2017. Mr. Iron Eyes, who ran as the Democratic nominee for Congress in North Dakota in 2016, had this to say about today’s court proceeding and the decision by Biden administration lawyers and the Army Corps:
“The Army Corps of Engineers has failed to act in accordance with the law by allowing oil to continue flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline, even though a federal district court judge rejected the Corps’ environmental analysis and vacated its permit. Rather than fulfill its regulatory obligations, the Corps left the decision on continued oil flow up to the judge. The appropriate action for the judge is to enter an injunction ordering the cessation of the oil flow until such time as DAPL complies with environmental laws and its regulatory obligations. In the meantime, we must also keep the pressure on the president to be accountable in his role and do the right thing.
“We who are aware of our responsibilities recognize the setback, but we’ve been in this fight as an organization since the moment the Dakota Access pipeline began to trespass on treaty lands, and we’re not stopping now. This is a long fight that will only become more imminent as the climate collapses.”
Phyllis Young, Standing Rock Organizer for the Lakota People’s Law Project and former Standing Rock tribal liaison to the Oceti Sakowin protest camp:
“For hundreds of years, our people have faced unwelcome and deadly incursions upon our homelands. Today’s decision is disappointing and demonstrates a lack of understanding by Washington politicians for Indigenous sovereignty. We will do our very best to see this pipeline removed, our water protected, and our sacred lands healed. We will replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. One bad decision can’t change that. We’re dedicated to providing a better future for the generations to come. We’ve been fighting for our lives for centuries, and we aren’t going to stop now.”
About the Lakota People's Law Project
The Lakota People's Law Project operates under the 501(c)(3) Romero Institute, a nonprofit law and policy center.