Developments in the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

There have been a number of developments in the Dakota Access Pipeline construction issue and the protests against that construction this week, from the announcement of the discovery of tribal artifacts at a construction site by Energy Transfer Partners to the arrival of a large group of clergy in support of the NoDAPL protesters.

North Dakota Public Utilities Commission Opened Inquiry into Dakota Access Pipeline

On Nov. 2, 2016, the North Dakota Public Utilities Commission met, and during the administrative portion of the meeting, determined to open an inquiry into an “unanticipated discovery” of sacred artifacts during construction of the pipeline. (

On Oct. 25, 2016, an inspector for the PUC reported to the commission that an “unanticipated discovery” of sacred artifacts that resulted in a re-route of the pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners verified that the discovery had occurred by the construction crew on October 15, resulting in a re-route of construction that was approved by the PUC.

When the PUC looked for documentation of the request for such approval, there was none.

While Energy Transfer Partners did notify the Historical Society and did not disturb the unconfirmed sacred artifacts, it failed to notify the North Dakota PUC, a requirement of the construction to ensure transparency on all levels.

There is now an opportunity for ETP and the public to comment on this issue before the PUC determine whether to schedule a hearing to determine if some follow-up action needs to be taken by the commission towards ETP.


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Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to Hold Regulatory Hearings

Beginning Nov. 4, 2016, and continuing through Nov. 22, 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will be holding a series of regulatory hearings for the purpose of consideration of the Dakota Access Pipeline construction’s impact on air quality, safe drinking water, sacred sites and tribal rights.

The impetus for the hearings may have been the success of the same process used by the Mille Lacs and White Earth bands of Ojibwe in their campaign against the construction of the Sandpiper Pipeline, a project of the Enbridge Corporation.

The hearings offer the opportunity to the public-at-large and expert witnesses to offer their opinions and concerns about the impact the continued construction of the pipeline would have on the environment and more.

Hearings are scheduled to take place:

  • Nov. 4, 2016 in the Administrative Conference Rooms of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Nov. 9, 2016 at the Prairie Knights Casino from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Nov. 21, 2016 at the Grand River Casino from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Nov. 22, 2016 at Prairie Knights Casino from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Written comment is also welcome and will be admitted if postmarked by Dec. 5, 2016, and sent to:

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Attn: Hearing on the Environment

P.O. Box D

Fort Yates, ND 58538

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