Superficial Reporting on Executive Orders and DAPL

Trump advances controversial oil pipelines with executive action by Athena Jones, Jeremy Diamond and Gregory Krieg, CNN, starts with these breathless paragraphs:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed executive actions to advance approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

The decision to advance the pipelines cast aside efforts by President Barack Obama’s administration to block construction of the two pipelines, while making good on one of Trump’s campaign promises.

The CNN reporters must have read some presidential action other than: Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. CNN links to the memorandum but never quote from it.

Here’s the relevant language from the memorandum:


Sec. 2. Directives. (a) Pipeline Approval Review. The Secretary of the Army shall instruct the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), including the Commanding General and Chief of Engineers, to take all actions necessary and appropriate to:

(i) review and approve in an expedited manner, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, and with such conditions as are necessary or appropriate, requests for approvals to construct and operate the DAPL, including easements or rights-of-way to cross Federal areas under section 28 of the Mineral Leasing Act, as amended, 30 U.S.C. 185; permits or approvals under section 404 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1344; permits or approvals under section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, 33 U.S.C. 408; and such other Federal approvals as may be necessary;

(ii) consider, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, whether to rescind or modify the memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works dated December 4, 2016 (Proposed Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing at Lake Oahe, North Dakota), and whether to withdraw the Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in Connection with Dakota Access, LLC’s Request for an Easement to Cross Lake Oahe, North Dakota, dated January 18, 2017, and published at 82 Fed. Reg. 5543;

(iii) consider, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, prior reviews and determinations, including the Environmental Assessment issued in July of 2016 for the DAPL, as satisfying all applicable requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., and any other provision of law that requires executive agency consultation or review (including the consultation or review required under section 7(a) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1536(a));

(iv) review and grant, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, requests for waivers of notice periods arising from or related to USACE real estate policies and regulations; and

(v) issue, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, any approved easements or rights-of-way immediately after notice is provided to the Congress pursuant to section 28(w) of the Mineral Leasing Act, as amended, 30 U.S.C. 185(w).

Do you see a

cast[ing] aside efforts by President Barack Obama’s administration to block construction of the two pipelines

?

That’s the President’s intent but read the discretionary language present:


(i) review and approve in an expedited manner, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, and with such conditions as are necessary or appropriate, … ;

(ii) consider, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, whether to rescind or modify the memorandum … ;

(iii) consider, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, prior reviews and determinations, including the Environmental Assessment issued in July of 2016 for the DAPL, … ;

(iv) review and grant, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, … ; and

(v) issue, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, ….

Setting aside Obama administration actions if after,

consider, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, whether to rescind or modify the memorandum (Sec. 2, (ii))

That’s a long way from “…cast[ing] aside….”

Who Exercises That Discretion?

Three entities are named to exercise discretion over the DAPL permits:

but only the Army Corps of Engineers was named by CNN and then without a link for further details.

Beyond Hand Wringing Over The Executive Order On DAPL

Starting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), note they maintain a webpage devoted entirely to DAPL and the current status of their review. Helpfully, the USACE includes a phone number for anyone to call about the project, (202) 761-8700.

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy’s MEMORANDUM FOR Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, SUBJECT: Proposed Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing at Lake Oahe, North Dakota (undated but appears to be December 2016), gives pointers into the regulatory scheme that will govern the review process.

Organizations opposing DAPL are mentioned, some even quoted, but for further contact, as least per CNN, you are on your own.

Let’s cure that lack:

To be fair, CNN also omitted contact details for supporters of DAPL as well: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D, North Dakota) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D, West Virginia).

To become a participant on this important issue, follow the Army Corps of Engineers page, contribute to and/or participate in organizations opposing DAPL, reason with supporters of DAPL, reason with shareholders of banks invested in DAPL, etc. All of which requires basic information to enable your participation.

Conclusion

New reports should enable readers to participate in the important issues of the day.

Even with the Executive Order, the game of review within government is still on. You can participate and/or support other organizations that are participating in that process.

Compare my account to that of CNN.

Which one do you think better enables your participation?

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