Sanders, Dem senators press Obama to halt ND pipeline

Sanders, Dem senators press Obama to halt ND pipeline
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A group of Democratic senators is asking President Obama to halt work on the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline and conduct more thorough cultural and environmental reviews of the project before allowing it to go forward.

In a Thursday letter to Obama, the senators, led by former White House candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' MORE (I-Vt.), called the pipeline “a violation of tribal treaty rights,” and said federal regulators didn’t do a thorough enough assessment of its route before approving it.

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“We support the tribes along the pipeline route in their fight against the Dakota Access pipeline project,” the senators wrote.

They also tied the project to the Keystone XL pipeline, which last year saw Obama reject its permit request on environmental grounds. The senators said the oil that would travel through Dakota Access would contribute to climate change.

“It is imperative that the [Army] Corps’ permitting process be transparent and include public notice and participation, formal and meaningful tribal consultation, and adequate environmental review. Until that occurs, construction of this project must be halted.”

Democratic Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Democrats grill USDA official on relocation plans that gut research staff Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens MORE (Vt.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei MORE (Calif.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Poll: McConnell is most unpopular senator FTC looks to update children's internet privacy rules MORE (Mass.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCan new US Strategy on Women, Peace & Security give women a real seat at the table? Ask Afghan women Maryland lawmakers slam 'despicable' Trump remark about journalists on newsroom shooting anniversary Democrats leery of Sanders plan to cancel student loan debt MORE (Md.) also signed the letter.

The senators’ message comes days after a federal appeals court allowed construction of the 1,170-mile, $3.8 billion pipeline to move forward, ruling against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's request to temporarily block the project. The pipeline’s developers said they will undertake a “prompt resumption” of work.

The Army Corps and pipeline developers said they took pains to avoid tribal heritage sites in North Dakota. Another federal judge last month ruled against the tribe and gave his approval to the Army Corps’ permitting process.

Sanders was an early foe of the Dakota Access project, which has become a major issue for anti-fossil-fuel activists and environmentalists in Congress. A group of House Democrats has also asked Obama to stop construction on the project and do another assessment of it.

The White House has so far sidestepped questions on the matter, citing the legal challenges. The Obama administration is conducting an internal assessment of its permitting decisions for the project and is currently withholding an easement required for construction along a segment of the line to move forward.