Presidential Memorandum on the Dakota Access Pipeline

We spend a lot of time waiting for official documents to post to make sure the information out there about them is correct. Sarah and I were waiting all afternoon for an “official” link to this memorandum, and then I realized the link would be to the website of the White House Press Office. So. For the record, I personally saw the actual document first on Twitter from Lael Echo-Hawk (@laeleh), and then on Facebook from Bryan Newland, who had it from Nicole Willis. It does appear from the text that it will eventually be published in the Federal Record, probably tomorrow or the next day.

Here is the Memorandum (technically not an Executive Order. For the quick and easy explanation of the difference you can look here, but probably should know that President Obama’s actions in Bristol Bay, for example, were also a memorandums).

This Memorandum does not itself try to eliminate the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for DAPL, but asks the U.S. Corps of Engineers to expedite it and to consider rescinding or modifying the December 4th Memorandum posted here.

Standing Rock’s press release in response is here.

Court Denies TRO to Prevent Publishing Dakota Access EIS Notice

Download(PDF) DAPL motion and memorandum of law filed January 16, 2017:

From the District Court for the District of Columbia in the matter of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, 1:16-cv-01796-JEB:

“MINUTE ORDER: As explained in open court following today’s hearing, the Court ORDERS that Dakota Access’s 80 Motion for Temporary Restraining Order is DENIED and its Motion for Preliminary Injunction is WITHDRAWN WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 01/18/2017. (lcjeb3) (Entered: 01/18/2017)”

Download(PDF) Federal Register : Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in Connection With Dakota Access, LLC’s Request for an Easement To Cross Lake Oahe, North Dakota

MN DNR Releases 1,800 page Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Copper-Nickel Mine Located in 1854 Treaty Ceded Territory

The Bois Forte, Grand Portgage, and Fond du Lac tribes, along with GLIFWC and the 1854 Treaty Authority have raised concerns about the impact of this project. The proposed mine exists within territory ceded by the tribes in the 1854 Treaty. The tribes reserved usufructuary rights in the area.

The public comments period began with the release of the document. At least 3 public hearings will be held.

Link to the Environmental Impact Statement here.

Press coverage here.

Excerpt from article:

In September, staff from all three Chippewa bands, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission and the 1854 Treaty Authority submitted a 100-page “cumulative effects analysis” outlining their objections to the revised environmental-impact statement.

The tribes were included in the process both times as “cooperating agencies,” which meant an advisory role with no direct control over the data collection, writing or editing for the statement. Still, their influence on the latest draft is easy to spot.

This level of tribal engagement is not limited to the PolyMet project or the Minnesota tribes, says Nancy Schuldt, the Fond du Lac water-projects coordinator: “Today, tribes are exercising environmental authorities to a greater extent. There has been a tremendous amount of capacity building in terms of tribal staff and expertise to actually follow up on our request for a seat at the table when decisions like this are being made.” . . .

The mining of iron ore, meanwhile, has been altering northern Minnesota ecosystems for more than a century, and Schuldt wants that to be the starting point for any conversation about the impact of mining what is sometimes called nonferrous, or noniron, metals.

In northern Minnesota, copper, nickel and other nonferrous metals are embedded in rock that also contains sulfide. (That’s why this kind of mining is often called sulfide mining.) When you expose the rock to air and water, sulfuric acid is created. It’s the acid runoff from the exposed rock that somebody will have to be watching and treating for hundreds of years.

In their response to a recent draft, the tribal cooperating agencies write that current and historic mining activities have “profoundly and, in many cases, permanently degraded vast areas of forests, wetlands, air and water resources, wildlife habitat, cultural sites and other critical treaty-protected resources within the 1854 Ceded Territory.”

If the PolyMet proposal promises pollution control, the position of the tribes is, we don’t buy it.

“The State of Minnesota has existed for 155 years,” they write. “The United States of America has existed for 237 years. The notion that a mining company and financial assurance instruments will be available to work on a mine site 500 years from now is not believable.”

D.C. Circuit Strikes NRC Temporary Fuel Storage Rule (Prairie Island Indian Community Among Challengers)

Here is today’s opinion in State of New York v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and selected briefs:

CADC Opinion

Prairie Island and NY VT CT NJ Brief

NRC Brief

NY VT CT NJ & Prairie Island Reply Brief


Prairie Island (and Three States) Challenge Nuclear Regulatory Commission Temporary Spent Fuel Storage Rule


Prairie Island and NY VT CT NJ Brief