Energy & Environment

Army Corps nominee pledges not to politicize DAPL environmental review

President Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of the Army for civil works pledged to ensure that an environmental review of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline is not politicized.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) asked Michael Connor about the ongoing Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which was ordered by a federal court in 2020, in a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday.

“If you’re confirmed, with this EIS continuing … do I have your commitment that you’ll do everything you can to keep politics out of the EIS process?” Cramer asked.

“Yes, we need to move forward consistent with law and the very clear direction the court has given,” Connor replied. “Those are legal questions and they’re technical questions that need to be followed up. I want to oversee that and understand it given the visibility of the issue and the importance of tribal consultation.”

Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee, ordered a full EIS for the pipeline in 2020; however, in March he refused a request by tribal communities to shut down the pipeline while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts the full review.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also questioned Connor on the EIS process for the pipeline in a Tuesday hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, saying she was “concerned that the pipeline continues to operate without an environmental review despite the legal requirements.”

Connor assured the Massachusetts Democrat that the process would be conducted in accordance with the law and full tribal consultation, saying “the Corps will be following the law with respect to the directions of the court, and all other applicable laws and policy.”

“Tribal consultation is not a check-the-box exercise, it’s got to be robust [and] meaningful and that means it’s got to be substantive in the interaction with tribes,” he added.

Tags Dakota Access Pipeline Dakota Access Pipeline protests Elizabeth Warren Environmentalism Joe Biden Kevin Cramer

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