The Army Corps of Engineers has been ordered to approve the final steps needed to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to two North Dakota GOP lawmakers.
Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer “has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with the easement needed to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Sen. John Hoeven said in a statement Tuesday. Hoeven said he spoke with Speer on Tuesday.
The official easement hasn’t been released yet, but both Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer praised Speer’s decision. Cramer said that he heard the U.S. Army Corps will give approval.
The crossing under Lake Oahe, a section of the Missouri River in southern North Dakota, is the final piece of work that needs to be completed to fully construct the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline that runs through four states. That portion is roughly half a mile upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s reservation.
The tribe contests that the pipeline could contaminate the drinking water for them and the supply for millions of other people downstream.
Last week, President Trump issued an executive order advancing approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. On January 24, Trump called the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider their decision in December to withhold permission until more study is done on the crossing.
The tribe has vowed to contest any granting of the easement in court.
“To abandon the (environmental impact statement) would amount to a wholly unexplained and arbitrary change based on the President’s personal views and, potentially, personal investments,” the tribe said in a statement.
Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners says the pipeline would be safe.
Two days prior to former President Barack Obama leaving office, the Army Corps launched a study of the crossing that could take up to two years to complete.