On Dec. 4, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it was denying a permit for easements that would allow the planned Dakota Access Pipeline to tunnel beneath Lake Oahe, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation. Yet, Energy Transfer Partners, the company that owns a majority stake in the pipeline, issued a statement saying that construction will continue unencumbered.
Energy Transfer’s statement calls the Obama Administration’s decision “a purely political action," and adds “[t]his 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.”
The statement suggests that under incoming president Donald Trump, the official federal stance on the pipeline will change.
Energy Transfer’s confidence lies not only in Trump’s stated policy, but in the president-elect’s personal investment in the pipeline. According to Reuters, however, a memo from Trump’s transition team, tried to deny such bias.
Trump’s support “has nothing to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans,” the memo claims. “Those making such a claim are only attempting to distract from the fact that President-elect Trump has put forth serious policy proposals he plans to set in motion on Day One."
“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,” Energy Transfer’s Dec. 4 statement continues. “…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.”