Thank you for writing. I want you to know that I am listening, and I appreciate your perspective.
On December 4, the Department of the Army indicated that it will not approve an easement for the proposed Dakota Access pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe and that more work is necessary to explore alternative routes. The Department stated that it has been having discussions with officials from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who expressed concerns about the risk that a rupture or spill could pose to the tribe’s water supply and treaty rights. The Department indicated that consideration of alternative routes would best be accomplished through an Environmental Impact Statement with full public input and analysis.
As President, my greatest responsibility is ensuring the safety of the American people. That includes protecting the rights of all our citizens, as well as the integrity of our energy infrastructure. My Administration has been committed to setting the highest possible standards for oil and gas production and transportation and to making sure our pursuit of energy resources does not put our communities or the environment at risk. As new energy infrastructure is developed, the Federal government works with State, local, and tribal governments—which play a central role in the siting and permitting of pipelines—to address the concerns of local communities. That’s one reason why Federal agencies have engaged in a series of consultations open to leaders from all 567 Federally‑recognized tribes about how the Federal government can improve its working relationship with tribal governments on infrastructure‑related issues. We have made a great deal of progress in building a brighter shared future with Indian Country, and we remain committed to strengthening our nation‑to‑nation relationships as we tackle the work that must still be done.
Again, thank you for writing. I am optimistic that together, we can grow our economy and create new opportunities while securing a cleaner and safer future for all our people.
I can’t wait to show my students some really neat science experiments this week. I love it when students have to think about what they know and how to explain something that doesn’t quite turn out the way they expect by using their science knowledge and writing skills.