Standing Rock Sioux no longer cooperating with DAPL environmental study

(Standing Rock Indian Reservation) -- A chairwoman for The Standing Rock Sioux tribe says they will no longer be cooperating with the environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). 

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairwoman Janet Alkire cites a lack of transparency between the Army Corps of Engineers and Energy Transfer, DAPL's operator, as the key reason for the tribe's cease in support for the environmental review. The tribe is calling upon the Army Corps of Engineers to take swift and immediate measures to prevent a possible disaster with the DAPL. In the statement, Alkire says the lowered water levels in Lake Oahe and other dams along the Missouri River could leave DAPL's plans for emergency cleanup "infeasible."

“If an oil spill were to occur today, the plans submitted for remediation at Lake Oahe probably couldn’t be implemented,” she says. “Equipment required for the containment of a spill, even if deployed in a timely manner, could not reach the response zone.”

Doug Crow Ghost, Administrator of the Tribe's Water Resources Department, says the emergency plans in place do not take the fluctuating lake levels into account. “Lake Oahe’s elevation is 12 feet below what it was two years ago today, but the Corps continues to release water at Oahe as if it is business as usual,” 

Tribal leaders are also voicing concern about Energy Transfer's ability to contain an oil spill at Lake Oahe. “Roads leading to the river and most access points on the reservation in the vicinity of the pipeline are not usable at the present time,” says Crow Ghost. 

The Army Corps of Engineers were ordered by a federal court to attempt another Environmental Impact Study back in 2020, after the first one was found insufficient. The announcement from the tribe means they will no longer cooperate with the second study.