Senators Ask Army Corps for Documentation on Dakota Access Pipeline Environmental Reviews

By Yessenia Funes Apr 07, 2017

Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) wrote a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers April 3 demanding answers to how the federal agency handled the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

They worry that the now-completed project lacked proper governmental oversight. The letter states:

We write to share our concern that the Corps has provided virtually no information to Congress regarding its oversight of the project. We sorely lack an understanding of the Corps’ efforts to make sure that Energy Transfer Partners (the pipeline developer) complies with even the most fundamental environmental, safety and mitigation conditions of its easement and permits as it undertakes project-related construction activities.

The letter goes on to list specific questions Carper and Cantwell have on the 1,172-mile long pipeline, which faced much opposition from neighboring tribes and environmentalists around the world. An overarching concern is that the government allowed pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners to circumvent environmental laws and regulations for this project.

Some of the letter’s questions include:

  • Does the Corps have a plan or alternative drinking water supply in mind in case the pipeline contaminates any current drinking water supply?
  • What sort of communication (including emails, memos, telephone logs, etc.) did the Corps and President Donald Trump’s administration have with each other and with Energy Transfer Partners?
  • Given how ahead of schedule the pipeline is, how did the Corps oversee drilling to make sure none was happening during the time the company had no permit?
  • During the permitting process, how did the Corps consult tribal governments? Which ones?
  • What is the status of the Environmental Impact Statement that the Corps had begun to conduct before Trump’s presidential memorandum steamrolling the project?

Carper and Cantwell are ranking members of the Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on Energy and Natural resources, respectively. They are asking Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, the commanding general and chief of engineers for the Army, to respond with proper documentation as proof by April 12.