April 01, 2021

Warren, Merkley, Barragán, Ruiz, and Grijalva Urge President Biden to Shutdown Dakota Access Pipeline

Bicameral Letter to Biden Administration Precedes April 9th District Court Hearing

Text of Letter (PDF)


Washington, D.C. – Today, United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and  Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) led 28 of their colleagues in asking President Joe Biden to order a shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) during its court-ordered environmental review.


The Senators and Congressmembers initially sent a letter to President Biden expressing their concerns on February 5th and are resending the letter today with additional support from their colleagues in Congress.


“By shutting down this illegal pipeline, you can continue to show your administration values the environment and the rights of Indigenous communities more than the profits of outdated fossil fuel industries,” the lawmakers wrote. “This is a critical step towards righting the wrongs of the past and setting our nation on a path of environmental, climate, and social justice.”


The call for a shutdown of DAPL follows a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in January that upheld a March 2020 United States District Court decision that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it granted the easement for the pipeline to cross a federal reservoir along the Missouri River. The easement ignored the concerns of the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that an oil spill could disproportionately affect their drinking water, as well as hunting and fishing rights.


The letter also asked President Biden to meet with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other impacted tribes to hear their concerns directly. Indigenous advocacy groups are rallying in front of the Army Corps of Engineers building today to protest proposed pipelines impacting their communities, including DAPL.


“As you consider how to proceed, we encourage you to meet with members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other impacted Tribes to better understand how the DAPL affects their lands, treaty rights, and environmental priorities,” wrote the lawmakers.


The letter was signed by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).


The letter was signed by Representatives Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.-At Large), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-Ill.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Marie Newman (D-Ill.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and Nydia M. Valázquez (D-N.Y.).


In May  2020, Senator Warren joined a group of House and Senate colleagues to file an amicus brief urging the court to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline while the government analyzed the potentially disastrous effects on the environment and nearby tribal communities.