U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) questioned Michele Pearce, nominee to be General Counsel of the Department of the Army, about the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) lawsuit with the State of North Dakota regarding the cost of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests. If confirmed, Ms. Pearce committed to expressing her concerns and opinions directly with DOJ as the case progresses.
Senator Cramer began by expressing his frustration with the lawsuit’s lack of progress and the federal government’s unwillingness to engage in reaching a settlement.
“Other than acknowledging North Dakota’s lawsuit and a request for discussions, no such effort has been made by the federal government,” said Senator Cramer.
Ms. Pearce outlined her frustrations with the way the lawsuit has played out.
“It is my understanding, after thoroughly reviewing all of the pleadings, there were absolutely missed opportunities to reach a settlement,” said Ms. Pearce. “I am committed to addressing any concerns I have moving forward.”
Ms. Pearce also committed to meeting with Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to discuss a resolution.
“We have this bank of lawyers at the Department of Justice who have zero regard for states or federalism,” concluded Senator Cramer. “It is an agency that’s barely gotten better, and certainly not below the level of Attorney General when it comes to respecting states. I’m grateful to have someone seeking this job who is willing to state her position, but I want her to be ultimately responsible.”