Thursday, July 13, 2017

Trump's Violation of NEPA-SEPA Laws-Rules


Preface---
Formerly I've been an independent environmental regulatory compliance consultant to businesses.  In that capacity (and others) I became very familiar with the various National and State environmental laws and regulations.  In addition, I did the research for and wrote a number of EISs (Environmental Impact Statements, which are required by Law for many projects) for some clients.  Because of that, I became well versed in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)---a Law passed during the Nixon years---and a few different SEPAs (State Environmental Policy Acts).
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A couple days ago, I came across an article with a link to a page in the Federal Register dealing with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)...specifically, a Notice of Intent (NOI) stating the Army would be doing an EIS in relation to the Pipeline.  That NOI was published in January of this year.  I was a bit surprised because I had seen no indication of such an EIS all this year.  [Because this whole thing is in my field, I keep my eyes peeled for EISs on huge, major projects.]  I did another Search...no luck.  I then contacted (by email) the Army's Corps of Engineers Civil Projects section and asked to see a copy of the EIS in question...or, if there was none, why not?  Incredibly, I heard back within the hour.  Here's the body of the text/reply:
"Upon revaluation of the Dakota Access Pipeline project the U S Army terminated its intent to complete an EIS. This action was announced in the Federal Register in February 2017.".

The Army, as the Lead Agency, published the NOI on January 18, 2017...a couple days before Trump was sworn in as President.  Here's the link:
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/18/2017-00937/notice-of-intent-to-prepare-an-environmental-impact-statement-in-connection-with-dakota-access-llcs
The easement for crossing the Missouri River at Lake Oahe is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.  The point being:  there's no doubt that the NEPA requirement for an EIS applies in this situation.  Sometime after Trump is sworn in as President, the Army publishes its EIS termination notice... in February.

Not long ago, I saw a News clip of Trump bragging how no one else had the guts to authorize DAPL.  "But I closed my eyes and just signed it.".  Yes, and here's what that means: 
you have violated the National Environmental Policy Act.  If the Fed Gov't issues a permit for a project of that size & potential impact (& owns the easement on which the project is located), and even if the project is completed by a private company, an EIS is required.  That's well established...there's no question about it.

SEPAs also require an EIS on major projects.  [If an EIS is completed under NEPA Rules, it fulfills any State requirement.]  North Dakota doesn't have a SEPA, but South Dakota does...and the DAPL goes through portions of both Dakotas, Iowa, and Illinois.  It's a HUGE project with significant potential impacts.  For one thing, it crosses (or goes under) more than one major river.  There's no doubt at all that an EIS is required by Law.

I think the Standing Rock Tribe has filed a lawsuit over this very thing.  I hope so.  Trump is not above the Law; he just thinks he is.

It's not relevant to my point here if you are for or against fossil fuels, or for or against the Rights of Native Americans/Indigenous People/American Indians.  It's not even relevant if you believe the EIS requirement on major projects is a good or bad thing.  What's relevant is that the President has violated the Law.  He can't repeal a Law without Congress.  Perhaps the Corporate Media and the Democrats should stop beating to death the Russia distraction, and instead, concentrate on something solid...such as this scenario.

Not only my opinion.  Be Well

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