Republicans Block House Amendment to Assess Environmental Impact of Dakota Access Pipeline

Republicans late Tuesday blocked a House vote on an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act by Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) that would have made completion of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline dependent on the Army Corps of Engineers publishing a full environmental impact statement for the project. The amendment, originally offered on Monday, was technically “ruled out of order” by the majority of the House Rules Committee even though it complied fully with House rules.

Had it passed, the amendment would have clarified the process for approving or rejecting the pipeline, which is in limbo amidst federal court proceedings and an ongoing executive branch review of tribal consultation procedures.

“If Republicans believe in Congress exercising its legislative authority, our amendment should have been ruled in order, debated and voted on,” Grijalva said Wednesday. “The Dakota Access Pipeline and its flawed permitting process have raised larger issues that need congressional scrutiny. Turning a blind eye and refusing to discuss those issues, even for five minutes, on the House floor sends a clear message to Indian Country that its concerns will not be heard in this Congress.”

“We must respect tribal sovereignty—period, end of story,” Rep. Polis said. “The Dakota Access Pipeline needs to be stopped before it destroys the environment and tribal cultural heritage. It’s past time we to start move beyond crude oil and invest in renewables. Our planet depends on it.”

Grijalva recently traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux camp in North Dakota, which has become a center of resistance to the pipeline, and held a forum with Native American leaders on Capitol Hill to discuss reforming the policies that permitted Dakota Access without tribal consultation despite damage to Native American land.

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