Amanda M. Marincic has published “The National Historic Preservation Act: An Inadequate Attempt to Protect the Cultural and Religious Sites of Native Nations” in the Iowa Law Review.
Beginning in 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe engaged in a highly-publicized, year-long legal battle with Energy Transfer Partners regarding the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (“DAPL”). The Tribe initially argued that the DAPL’s construction would destroy ancient burial sites and potentially poison their only source of drinking water, the Missouri River. The Tribe also argued that the agency involved in the project, the Army Corps of Engineers, did not fulfill the obligations required by the NHPA. For a while, the fate of the DAPL was uncertain, with permits for construction being denied and then granted. After the Army Corps of Engineers granted the permit pursuant to President Trump’s memorandum, construction on the DAPL was completed. After several failed attempts by the Standing Rock Sioux to halt operation of the DAPL, a federal district judge ruled in June 2017 that the environmental impact studies done on the DAPL were inadequate. While this ruling is a small victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the NHPA was useless in protecting its cultural sites from significant damage.