In response to yesterday’s statement from the Army, Energy Transfer Partners issued the following press release:
DALLAS & NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ETP) and Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE: SXL) announced that the Administration’s statement today that it would not at this time issue an “easement” to Dakota Access Pipeline is a purely political action – which the Administration concedes when it states it has made a “policy decision” – Washington code for a political decision. This is nothing new from this Administration, since over the last four months the Administration has demonstrated by its action and inaction that it intended to delay a decision in this matter until President Obama is out of office.
For more than three years now, Dakota Access Pipeline has done nothing but play by the rules. The Army Corps of Engineers agrees, and has said so publicly and in federal court filings. The Corps’ review process and its decisions have been ratified by two federal courts. The Army Corps confirmed this again today when it stated its “policy decision” does “not alter the Army’s position that the Corps’ prior reviews and actions have comported with legal requirements.”
In spite of consistently stating at every turn that the permit for the crossing of the Missouri River at Lake Oahe granted in July 2016, comported with all legal requirements, including the use of an environmental assessment, rather than an environmental impact statement, the Army Corps now seeks to engage in additional review and analysis of alternative locations for the pipeline.
The White House’s directive today to the Corps for further delay is just the latest in a series of overt and transparent political actions by an administration which has abandoned the rule of law in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency.
As stated all along, ETP and SXL are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.
Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners are the companies building the Dakota Access Pipeline. Without the easement, continued construction under Lake Oahe, which is an Army Corps of Engineers project, would be illegal. The question will now be how much follow-through the Army and law enforcement will show to their statement, and whether ETP and SLP will push things that far. Protesters at Oceti Sakowin, one of the camps on site, were concerned that this is only a short-term victory. “This is a temporary celebration. I think this is just a rest,” Charlotte Bad Cob, 30, of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, said on Sunday. “With a new government it could turn and we could be at it again.” Some protesters, including many of the hundreds of veterans who recently joined in support, suspect that the Army’s decision was a ploy to get protesters to leave so that media attention would slacken.