U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp issued the following statement Tuesday after the Acting Secretary of the Army directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with the final easement to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“For months, North Dakotans have been on edge over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protests surrounding it, and for months they have faced uncertainty and delays on the ultimate fate of the project while constant disruptions took a toll on the sense of safety and security of communities near the construction,” said Heitkamp. “Now that the Acting Secretary of the Army has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to issue an easement to complete the project, we know construction will move forward – though we are waiting on more information in regards to a timeline for when construction can begin. We also know that with tensions high, our families, workers, and tribal communities deserve the protective resources they need to stay safe. Shortly after his inauguration, I requested President Trump provide needed federal law enforcement resources and funding I had also called on the previous administration to provide — to assist state and local law enforcement officers in maintaining a safe and secure environment in Morton County and other nearby areas while the protest camp continues to clear out and in anticipation of pipeline construction starting again.”
Gov. Doug Burgum issued the following statement on the easement sought for the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing at Lake Oahe.
“Although the Acting Secretary of the Army reiterated President Trump’s call to proceed with the easement process, there still is no formal timeline for approval or issuance of the easement,” Burgum said. “Regardless of the timing of the easement and any likely legal action to follow, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re one day closer to a potential life-threatening spring flood.”
“While we look forward to the safe completion of the pipeline, we will continue to work collaboratively with all parties to vacate and clean up the main protest camp to avoid an ecological disaster and to honor the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s wishes for protesters to leave the area,” Burgum said. “Our top priority remains public safety, including the safety of residents of Morton and Sioux counties who have suffered hardship and disruption because of the protests.”