Guam AG supports court order upholding NEPA laws

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Attorney General Leevin Taitano Camacho joined a coalition of 18 states, territories and a county in urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to affirm a lower court’s ruling shutting down the Dakota Access Pipeline because the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) failed to fully assess the potential impact of an oil spill from the pipeline on the environment and the natural resources that Native American tribes depend on in an environmental impact statement as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

According to the brief, which supports the Standing Rock Sioux, Cheyenne River
Sioux, Oglala Sioux, and Yankton Sioux Tribes, the Corps decision to grant an
easement for the construction of a portion of a 1,200 mile pipeline to transport more
than a half million gallons of oil a day under a lake that the Tribes rely on for
drinking water and religious ceremonies “follow[ed] a familiar pattern” of the
federal government failing to “fulfill the promise of environmental protection
enshrined in NEPA[.]”

“We are proud to stand with the many Native American tribes whose rights to
traditional lands, territories and resources have all too often been trampled upon,”
said Attorney General Camacho. “NEPA is one of the last lines of defense that
communities have to protect their cultural and natural resources, and allowing the
pipeline to operate before an environmental assessment has been completed violates
the spirit and letter of the law.”

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found the Corps violated NEPA
by failing to complete an environmental impact statement before the agency
granted the easement authorizing the pipeline. It marked the second time the
district court had faulted the agency for violating NEPA regarding the project.

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