Hoeven Speaks on Senate Floor to Address Misconceptions About the Dakota Access Pipeline Project

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today spoke on the Senate floor to address misperceptions about the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The senator outlined the project and the often violent protests that have occurred in recent months, as well as law enforcement’s professional response.

On Putting the Project in Perspective

“To put this issue into broader context, the Congressional Research Service estimates there are 38,410 [existing] crude oil pipeline river and waterbody crossings in the United States, including 1,079 in North Dakota. These crossings range from rivers, streams, and lakes, to ponds, canals, and ditches.”

On Court Challenges and Consultation with the Tribe

“Twice challenged and twice upheld – including by the Obama administration’s own appointees – the federal courts found that the Army Corps had followed the appropriate process, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was properly consulted, and the project could lawfully proceed.

“In total, the Army Corps held 389 meetings, conferred with more than 55 tribes, and conducted a 1,261-page environmental assessment, before finding that this infrastructure project has no significant environmental impact.”

On the Right to Peaceful Protests

“Everyone has a right to be heard, but it must done lawfully and peacefully – whether this is during the permitting process with its opportunities for public comment or else disputing the outcome through the court system.”

On the Need for the Obama Administration to Issue the Easement

“The ongoing protest activities – which at times have turned violent – are being prolonged and intensified by the Obama Administration’s refusal to approve the final remaining easement at Lake Oahe. This inaction has inflamed tensions, strained state and local resources, and, most importantly, is needlessly putting people at risk – including tribal members, protestors, law enforcement officers, construction workers, and area residents –our farmers and ranchers who live in the area.

“It’s past time that the final easement is approved and construction is completed. We need to resolve this issue. As the record demonstrates, it should be done so by its merits through the previously established regulatory and legal process. Further the federal law enforcement agencies should help our state and local law enforcement officers to ensure the law is followed, prevent violent and unlawful protests, and see that the peace is maintained. Our law enforcement officers have worked professionally, diligently, and tirelessly to protect the public.”

On Law Enforcement’s Professionalism

“There have been instances of trespassing, vandalism, theft and fire on privately owned ranchland. Residents have endured the challenges caused by roads being blocked or closed, either by protest activity or law enforcement’s response to it to ensure safety at a time when farmers and ranchers are busy harvesting, hauling hay, shipping calves and moving their herds from summer pasture. In addition, law enforcement is investigating cases of butchered, mutilated, injured and missing cattle, horses and bison in areas adjacent to sites occupied by protesters.

“Law enforcement has worked to protect everyone. They have been patient, professional and diligent. They have not used concussion grenades. More than 500 protestors have been arrested for breaking the law, and over 90 percent of them are from out of state – many if not most are not Native American. They are environmental activists from other parts of the country. If you want more information on law enforcement, go to YouTube “Know the Truth,” which is a website the Morton County Sheriff’s Office uses to provide updates on their efforts to maintain law and order at the protest site. The motto of law enforcement is ‘To Serve and Protect,” and that is exactly what they are doing.”

A complete transcript of the senator’s remarks can be found here.

A map of the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline can be found here.

A map of pipelines already existing in the U.S. can be found here.