NCAI Protests Army Corps Decision to Issue Easement for Dakota Access Pipeline, Urges Changes to Infrastructure Permitting Process

Published on Feb 08, 2017

The Army Corps of Engineers provided notice to Congress yesterday that it intends to issue the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline, and to terminate its study of alternative routes and effects on tribal treaty rights. The decision is based on President Trump’s January 24 Presidential Memorandum ordering the Army Corps to expedite the issuance of the easement.

“We stand with Standing Rock and all of the Missouri River Tribal Nations,” said NCAI President Brian Cladoosby. “I am particularly concerned about the impact on treaty rights. The Army Corps has already made a determination that the pipeline crossing affects treaty rights, and that more study and consultation with tribes is required. The Corps may not change this decision without providing a rationale for why the DAPL easement no longer threatens treaty rights. Treaties are the supreme law of the land. To suddenly change the decision and issue the easement after already starting the legal process of preparing an Environmental Impact Statement is arbitrary and capricious.”

Cladoosby also called on federal agencies to include tribes in the process for infrastructure permitting. “We need to fix the process going forward. This is going into another round of litigation and nobody is getting what they want. Ignoring tribal rights creates huge delays and cost overruns in any infrastructure project. Indian tribes are not opposed to infrastructure, we need roads and bridges and schools and hospitals just like everyone else. But tribes need to be respected as governments, and the process for siting infrastructure has to take our rights and interests into account. We see great results when tribes are involved early in the planning process, and we can make sure to protect tribal lands, treaty rights, and cultural resources. Tribes are good business partners, but we have to be at the table.”

Next steps will include litigation to uphold tribal rights. NCAI urges all tribes and the public to support Standing Rock, which you can do on the tribal website at


About The National Congress of American Indians:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit

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