May 11, 2017

Rep. Watson Coleman Statement on Reports of Leak in Unfinished Dakota Access Pipeline

 “The reports of an oil leak from the unfinished Dakota Access Pipeline, sadly reaffirms the projects' severe threat to our environment and the surrounding communities.

Last year, Americans from across the nation braved deadly winter conditions and violent suppression by law enforcement alongside the Standing Rock Sioux community to draw attention to the serious health, safety, and cultural risks associated with this project - risks that were being disregarded by regulators. On April 6, their concerns and protests were further validated. The officials at the South Dakota’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources attempt to minimize this by posting the information to the online database without notifying the public is troubling, shameful and does a huge disservice to the public.

As a member of Congress, I have long stood behind the Standing Rock Sioux [link to letter and against the rubber stamping energy projects that have clear and irreversible negative environmental consequences.   The government at every level has a duty to protect all Americans, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized. DAPL is just one example of harmful energy projects across the country -- including my very own district -- that faces tremendous and valid community opposition, yet, are still ushered through the approval process due to inadequate federal review. That is why, just yesterday, I announced that I am reintroducing the SAFER Pipelines Act to begin to restore the public's expectations and confidence in a thorough review of these impactful energy decisions.