Hoeven: Pipeline Issue Needs to Be Resolved

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today again called on the Obama Administration to quit delays and the Corps to issue the final easement so that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline can be completed. Further, he said any protests must be peaceful and protesters, mostly from outside North Dakota, who violate the law need to be arrested and held fully accountable.

“The situation has been a real challenge for farmers, ranchers and North Dakotans who live and work in the region, and it must be solved,” Hoeven said. “The pipeline can be built safely for the tribe and all others downstream. It follows an existing right-of-way that already has a natural gas pipeline and high voltage transmission line sited on it.”

Hoeven has continued his effort to push for additional law enforcement and funding to address the protesters. He has pressed Brigadier General Scott Spellmon, commander of the Army Corp of Engineers’ Northwestern Division, to approve the easement. This week the senator also spoke with Jeh Johnson, director of the Department of Homeland Security, to press for more Border Patrol Agents to assist local police. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has doubled its presence in the protest area and Border Patrol has assigned officers, but the administration must do more, the senator said.

Two weeks ago, the senator brought Julie Schaff Ellingson, the executive vice president of North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, to Washington to meet with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who oversees the BIA, and high level Corps officials so the secretary could hear firsthand from someone who could speak on behalf of residents directly impacted by some of the lawless protest activity.

Hoeven is also working with North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to secure funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, and he is also drafting legislation in his role on the Appropriations Committee to help North Dakota and other states that encounter similar challenges as a result of federal executive decisions.