How the army corps of engineers wound up in the middle of the dakota pipeline fight – u. s. – stripes

Why does the key decision on permitting the Dakota Access oil pipeline rest in the hands of the U.S. Little league pitching mound distance Army, an institution whose primary mission does not involve weighing energy policy, environmental consequences or tribal sensitivities?

The question is a crucial one as the Army is poised to grant the pipeline owner Energy Transfer Partners the final easement needed to complete a route that crosses four states, more than 200 waterways and hundreds of wetlands under federal oversight. Uw softball But while the Army can issue the final easement, no agency is in charge of evaluating the entire project.

“Crude oil pipelines (like Dakota Access) are constructed without any overarching or centralized permitting scheme – relying instead upon piecemeal state-by-state approval, with federal permits required only where the pipeline crosses federal lands, including tribal lands, or federal water,” said Maranda Compton, a lawyer at the firm Van Ness Feldman specializing in natural resource firms and Native American law. Pro landscape companion “This whole permitting scheme is a real mess.”

The result has been an unusually open display of interdepartmental discord and political intervention from the Obama and Trump administrations. Gardening tips for spring On his fourth full day in office, President Donald Trump ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to cut short a review sought by former President Barack Obama that was impeding the pipeline’s permit.

The Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation attempted last year to slow the Army Corps’ decision, writing letters citing the danger of leaks, environmental justice and the lack of public participation.

Like much of American law, the authority over oil pipelines is a patchwork of outdated legislation with the overlay of a newer bill that in turn is the legislative product of congressional bargaining and compromise.

The authority of the Army and the Army Corps dates back to the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. Irrigation association show The law prohibited the construction of wharves, piers, bulkheads, jetties or other structures in ports, harbors, canals or navigable rivers – except when recommended by the chief of engineers and authorized by the secretary of war.

Later, the Army Corps of Engineers approved the construction of dams and water projects from the upper Missouri River to New Orleans, many of them ill-conceived, harmful to the environment and subject to the pleadings of members of Congress. Maryvale baseball park More recently, it has launched environmental restoration projects in places such as the Florida Everglades.

The Clean Water Act of 1972 reinforced the Army Corps’ authority. Rock garden ideas It established protections of wetlands and waterways against dredged or filler material from infrastructure projects. How to pitch a baseball Yet it also said that the Army Corps would retain the power to issue permits for projects with “potentially significant impacts.”

Instead, Energy Transfer Partners sought and obtained approval from the public utility commissions in each of the four states the pipeline crosses. Water garden supplies near me It made deals with private landowners for right of way. Evans landscaping It went to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to discuss rates the pipeline will charge customers.

And it went to the U.S. Fantasy football 2016 draft Fish and Wildlife Service for permits to cross wetlands. Japanese landscape painting In the Dakotas, it crosses hundreds of grassland and wetland areas managed by the agency. How to lay a patio on soil In each of the districts, the pipeline required multiple wetland easements and said it would cause “temporary impacts” to 71.8 acres.

The pipeline’s needs from the Army Corps were limited. Youth football leagues near me It needed easements on waterways under control of the corps. Wild pitch frisco The Clean Water Act said that projects with “only minimal adverse effects,” could obtain a “general permit” issued on a nationwide, regional or state basis. Pitched roof house That permit eliminates individual review and allows certain projects to move ahead with little or no delay.

“There wasn’t any meaningful public process,” said Sharon Buccino, a lawyer at the Natural Resources Defense Council, even though the “problems are not de minimus.”

The Army Corps focused on 11 water crossings and asked for more details. Facebook mobile site It obtained environmental assessments from the company. Spring training arizona map These assessments are significantly less onerous than the environmental impact statement the State Department required of the Keystone XL pipeline or that the Environmental Protection Agency generally requires from major projects.

Still, they were more than was required for smaller crossings. Pitch meaning in music Moreover, the lawyer expert on pipelines said, “These additional approvals are what triggered the environmental and cultural/historical site review that is at the heart of the dispute.”

Obama stepped in last year, unusual in a commercial dispute such as this one. Baseball pitcher stats And he asked Energy Transfer Partners to submit environment impact reports on alternative routes.

Enter the Trump team. Softball clipart In court, lawyers for the government said that Obama’s request for the reports could be withdrawn. Small front garden ideas on a budget That was done Tuesday. Espn major league baseball scores yesterday The easement allowing the company to move ahead was slated to be issued Wednesday.