The Dakota Access Pipeline Continues

Recently, the Army granted the necessary permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline (“DAPL”). This comes after the project was halted in late 2016 so that further environmental impact statements could be made. Now, the Cheyenne River Sioux are challenging this permit on the grounds that there has been an improper environmental impact statement and that the project violates their freedom of religion.

In support of this, emergency actions and protests have sprung up across the nation. These actions are significant, as they show the Trump administration, who approved the project and reportedly ordered the permits to be granted, that the public is still against this project and continuing violations of indigenous rights. In addition, these protests can place additional pressure on the judicial process to halt the pipeline until a further environmental impact statement can be done.

This violation of indigenous rights comes at a time where the administration and Republican Congress are seeking to gut regulatory regimes. These cuts have focused on environmental and health regulations, with the push to deregulate coming from erroneous misinformation campaigns. Although numerous organizations have filed suit to prevent the administration’s “2 for 1” Executive Order, we must not forget that direct action goes a long way in influencing public policy and judicial decisions. This Executive Order, which mandates that for every one regulation promulgated, two must be cut, has dangerous implications for environmental and health regulations. The impact of this regulation will fall squarely on communities of color and low-income communities.