By ordering construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to resume, the President is participating in one of this country’s oldest traditions—repressing Native Americans [Image: Larry Towell/Magnum].

The Trump Administration is breaking with tradition on so many fronts—renting out the family hotel to foreign diplomats, say, or imposing travel restrictions on the adherents of disfavored religions—that it seems noteworthy when it exhibits some continuity with American custom.

And so let us focus for a moment, before the President’s next disorienting tweet, on news that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline will be restarted, a development that fits in perfectly with one of this country’s oldest cultural practices, going back to the days of Plymouth Rock: repressing Native Americans.

On December 4th, Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, announced that the easement required for [the pipeline’s parent company, Energy Transfer Partners] to dig beneath the Missouri would not be granted. Instead, the Army Corps of Engineers would prepare an environmental-impact statement, a lengthy process that effectively put the pipeline on hold.

So the Corps set about organizing public hearings and taking testimony; until Tuesday afternoon, we were in the middle of that period, with signatures coming in by the hundred thousand.

But at three o’clock [on February 7], acting on the President’s suggestion that the environmental review be “expedited”, the Army reverted to ancient form, shutting down the public-comment process and issuing the permits that E.T.P. needs to begin digging again.
Suddenly there was not “more work to do.” Somehow, in the eighteen days since Donald Trump had taken office, Robert Speer, the acting secretary of the Army, had obtained “sufficient information” to grant the approval.

Source: Trump’s Pipeline and America’s Shame – The New Yorker

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