Obama Interior chief slams Trump’s decision on Dakota Access

Obama Interior chief slams Trump’s decision on Dakota Access

Sally JewellSarah (Sally) Margaret JewellNational parks pay the price for Trump's Independence Day spectacle Overnight Energy: Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone | UN report offers dire climate warning | Trump expected to lift ethanol restrictions Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone MORE, the Interior secretary under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama praises marathon runners Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei for 'remarkable examples of humanity's ability' Each of us has a role in preventing veteran suicide Why calls for impeachment have become commonplace MORE, said the Trump administration’s decision to approve the Dakota Access pipeline “reneges” on the government’s obligation to a tribe opposed to the project.

“I was proud to stand with the [Army Corps of Engineers] earlier this year as they committed to conduct a thorough review of the proposed route, including an Environmental Impact Statement,” Jewell said in a statement she tweeted on Wednesday following an interview with The Washington Post.

“The tribe is right to pursue legal action. As a citizen, I add my voice to the thousands calling on the Corps to do the right thing and keep their word to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The Interior Department under Jewell took several steps during her tenure to side with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in its dispute with developers and federal officials over the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Interior Department in September sided with the Army Corps of Engineers when officials said they would not issue a construction easement for the project until more reviews of it could take place, despite a federal judge clearing the process that led to the easement in the first place.

In December, Jewell supported an Army Corps decision to conduct an environmental impact review of the project, something that would freeze the project in place potentially for years.

President Trump in January ordered officials to issue the easement allowing developers to build under North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, the most controversial stretch of the project. The Army on Tuesday said it would release the easement and allow construction to move forward. 

The tribe immediately vowed to fight the project in the courts and with policymakers. 

“The Corps’ decision willfully ignores the government’s trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations and the spirit of the law,” Jewell tweeted Wednesday.