The Commission was tasked with determining whether the project is in the state's interest, but was prohibited from evaluating environmental issues because the pipeline already has an environmental permit.
Though the Obama administration rejected the project in 2015 on environmental grounds, President Trump reversed the decision in March 2017, saying the construction of the pipeline would produce increased jobs and decreased fuel prices. The reversal of the decision has been met with staunch opposition by those fighting for environmenal justice and indigenous rights.
Does Pope Francis have a position on the Dakota Access Pipeline?
That’s one question he hasn’t been asked, and he might demur if pressed on such a specific issue. But in his landmark encyclical on the environment published last year, and in other statements, Francis has strongly supported arguments of the Native American-led resistance movement on three core issues: indigenous rights, water rights and protection of creation.
I had been anticipating Pope Francis’ speech to a joint session of Congress ever since I learned it was planned. From the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has established himself as a fearless advocate for the least, and an unapologetic prophet to both the church and the nations. A leader who shunned the glitter of the Apostolic Palace for the simplicity of a small guesthouse. A people’s pope who rebuked the rich and ate with the poor, and scolded the extravagance of the industrialized world as he drove through it in a fuel-efficient Fiat.
What words would this leader have for the Congress of the most wealthy, militarily powerful, commercially industrialized, colonial nation in the history of the world? The possibilities seemed endless.