WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) issued the following statement following President Trump’s executive actions to advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines:
“I am thrilled to see this much-needed action today to advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines after years of unnecessary delays and red-tape from the Obama administration, which acted above the law. The construction of these pipelines will help create good jobs for the middle class and move us one step closer to energy independence.
“Furthermore, conservation and natural resource development do not have to be mutually exclusive. I believe the United States can responsibly take advantage of its abundant natural resources while also emphasizing conservation. I look forward to working with the administration as we move forward on this and other projects to get our country moving again.”
About the Keystone XL Pipeline:
- U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), was an original cosponsor to the bipartisan Keystone XL Pipeline Act.
- The Keystone XL Pipeline Act passed Congress with bipartisan support in 2015.
- The cross-border pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada to U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast.
- According to the U.S. State Department, oil would be transported safely with minimal impact to the environment, and cause no disruption to the development of Canadian oil sands. This project contains strong protections and will comply with federal, state and local authorities.
- The Keystone XL Pipeline sets up basic energy infrastructure for future needs and is necessary to the progress of our country.
- Construction of the pipeline will stimulate the American economy through the creation of 42,000 new construction jobs and add an estimated $3.4 billion to GDP.
- This project has been one of the most studied pipelines in history.
- There is broad-based support behind construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO.
About the Dakota Access Pipeline:
- 1,172 mile project that would carry crude oil produced in the North Dakota Bakken region to southern Illinois.
- The pipeline is projected to carry 470,000 barrels per day
- The project was approved by four states (including Iowa) and has followed all the appropriate guidelines as it relates to the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
- Two courts denied the injunction requested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
- In the September 9th decision by Judge Boasberg, he wrote, “As previously discussed, Lake Oahe is of undeniable importance to the Tribe, and the general area is demonstrably home to important cultural resources. Even here, though, the Tribe has not met its burden to show that DAPL-related work is likely to cause damage. The Corps and the Tribe conducted multiple visits to the area earlier this year in an effort to identify sites that might be harmed by DAPL’s construction. While the Tribe identified several previously undiscovered resources during those visits, these sites are located away from the activity required for the DAPL construction. Ultimately, the Corps considered these findings and determined that they would not be affected by the permitted activity.”
- On page 48 of the same decision, “Plaintiff’s last point on the merits is that the Corps failed to offer it a reasonable opportunity to participate in the Section 106 process as to the narrow scope of the construction activity that the Corps did consider to be an effect of the permitted waterway activities. The factual proceedings recited in exhaustive detail in Section I.D., supra, tell a different story. The Corps has documented dozens of attempts to engage Standing Rock in consultations to identify historical resources at Lake Oahe and other PCN crossings. To the reader’s relief, the Court need not repeat them here. Suffice it to say that the Tribe largely refused to engage in consultations. It chose instead to hold out for more – namely, the chance to conduct its own cultural surveys over the entire length of the pipeline. In fact, on this record, it appears that the Corps exceeded its NHPA obligations at many of the PCN sites. For example, in response to the Tribe’s concerns about burial sites at the James River crossing, the Corps verified that cultural resources indeed were present and instructed Dakota Access to move the pipeline to avoid them. Dakota Access did so. Furthermore, the Corps took numerous trips to Lake Oahe with members of the Tribe to identify sites of cultural significance. Colonel Henderson also met with the Tribe no fewer than four times in the spring of 2016 to discuss their concerns with the pipeline. Ultimately, the Corps concluded that no sites would be affected by the DAPL construction at Lake Oahe, and the State Historic Preservation Officer who had visited that site concurred.
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