Presidential Memorandum
Issued January 24, 2017 


President Trump released a presidential memorandum directing the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) to expedite approval for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and to consider rescinding the Notice of Intent to Prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement released in the final days of the Obama Administration. On February 8, the Army Corps granted an easement to construct the pipeline across federal land. The easement represented the final federal authorization necessary for Dakota Access (a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners) to complete construction of the pipeline. Trump argues that the pipeline’s construction and operation would serve the national interest by bringing oil into U.S. markets. LEARN MORE


The Standing Rock protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline received international attention last summer drawing thousands of protestors to Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The protestors were supporting the indigenous Standing Rock Sioux Tribe which says completion of DAPL would disrupt their sacred burial sites and may lead to a contamination of the tribe’s water. The tribe has been supported by a coalition of indigenous and environmental groups which criticized the USACE’s use of an Environmental Assessment instead of a full Environmental Impact Statement as cursory, incomplete, and inconsistent with federal guidelines. The coalition also disputed the USACE’s assessment of cultural sites, consultation with Tribal nations, and impact on marginalized groups citing inadequate consultations and use of informational resources and inaccurate analysis. Over 220 scientists have signed a statement calling for a more rigorous evaluation of the pipeline’s environmental and cultural impacts. The scientists expressed concern over the potential impacts on climate change, biodiversity, and indigenous people’s drinking water. Sunoco Logistics, the pipeline’s future operator, “spills crude [oil] more often than any of its competitors with more than 200 leaks since 2010.”

Engagement Resources

  • ReZpect our Water – A group created by youth from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation to oppose DAPL through petitions, letters, and national events.
  • Greenpeace – An international environmental NGO that uses direct action, lobbying, research, and ecotage to raise public awareness and to influence the public and private sectors.
  • Sierra Club – The nation’s largest environmental preservation organization; recent focuses include green energy, mitigating global warming, and opposing coal.

This brief was compiled by Conor Downey. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact



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