New Pipeline Meeting Format Implemented by Army Corps in Response to Criticism

(P&GJ) — Responding to concerns raised by the public, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has modified the manner in which oral comments are accepted for the draft environmental review of the contentious Dakota Access oil pipeline, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Two gatherings were organized in Bismarck, North Dakota, on consecutive days for individuals to provide input on the document. This document will play a pivotal role in the federal government's decision regarding whether to grant an easement for the pipeline to cross under the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation. The tribe has consistently voiced opposition to the pipeline due to the potential for an oil spill.

Critics of the pipeline raised objections after a meeting last Wednesday, as oral testimony was restricted to a private setting with stenographers behind curtains in a hotel ballroom. Many attendees spoke publicly outside the curtained area, but their statements were not considered official testimony. For instance, one man demonstrated his displeasure by challenging Corps officials to drink a mixture of oil and water from a cup.

During the Thursday session, attendees were given the choice to include their spoken remarks as part of the official public record, as reported by The Bismarck Tribune.

The adjustment in meeting format was primarily driven by a lower turnout; only 20 people had registered to provide oral comments at Thursday's gathering, according to Corps spokesman Steve Wolf, as informed by The Associated Press.

"Both meetings essentially operated in the same fashion. People who wanted to make oral comments in private or openly in front of the entire assembled attendees were able to do so. Those who wanted their oral or written comments to be officially entered into the administrative record were able to do so both nights," Wolf stated to the AP.

Since 2017, the pipeline has been transporting oil from western North Dakota, following several months of protests that resulted in numerous arrests.

The public comment period will conclude on Dec. 13.

Related News


{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}