WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to President Barack Obama Thursday requesting the administration halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline until affected tribes are consulted and a full environmental review is conducted.
“In light of the decision of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to reject the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for a temporary halt to construction, the project’s current permits should be suspended and all construction stopped until a complete environmental and cultural review has been completed for the entire project,” the senators wrote.
Over the past several weeks, hundreds of Native American tribes have mobilized to draw attention to the pipeline’s encroachment on sacred lands, bringing about a groundswell of opposition to the project.
“Until there has been full and meaningful tribal consultation, all pipeline permits and easements should be revoked or denied,” the members wrote.
The Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Army Corps of Engineers previously requested that the pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, halt construction while an environmental and cultural impact review was conducted. The pipeline company declined to stop the project, and a federal circuit court gave a partial emergency injunction to halt construction. After hearing the full injunction argument, the court denied the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s request to halt the project, a ruling that was affirmed Saturday by a federal appeals court.
The president can order the Army Corps to conduct a full review of the pipeline.
“If there is one profound lesson that indigenous people have taught us, it is that all of us as human beings are part of nature,” the senators wrote. “We will not survive if we continue to destroy nature.”