Protect the Environment

Comment on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), the Focus of the Standing Rock Protests


Protestors have gathered in North Dakota to stop the progress of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). They fear it will threaten the region’s water and interfere with Native American burial grounds. Because the pipeline would cross the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in the Dakotas, the protests have been dubbed the “Standing Rock” protests.

On January 24, Trump issued a memorandum to the Army Corps of Engineers, asking them to abandon the environmental impact statement process for the pipeline and move ahead with the project.

But Trump’s edict is not the end, and there is still time for you to speak against DAPL.


Write an email stating your concerns about DAPL to the Army Corps of Engineers before the February 20 comment deadline.


The emails should go to:


With this subject line:

“NOI Comments, Dakota Access Pipeline Crossing”


Before you write your email, bring yourself up to speed on what comments will work best by reading this article from Yes Magazine:


Below is the sample email that Yes Magazine composed. Please take care not to repeat the email verbatim. Instead, use it as a springboard for writing an original message. When a government entity receives hundreds of emails or texts with identical language, they get batched, and getting batched means getting sidelined and discounted.


Yes Magazine‘s Sample Comment:

Mr. Owen,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Dakota Access pipeline crossing. I have grave concerns that the scope ignores key impacts that the Army Corps’ approval would cause, and that the “no-action” alternative, as proposed in the environmental assessment, does not constitute a realistic alternative.

The EA’s no-action alternative assumes that, if the pipeline is not built, the oil will be transported by truck or rail instead. This argument is flawed, however. The EA itself points out on page 5 that truck transportation is not realistic, and goes on to state that rail transportation would require massive infrastructure investments, far larger than any currently existing in the United States. For these reasons, the no-action alternative should assume that the oil is not extracted, as there will be no realistic way to transport it to the intended markets.

Additionally, the Council on Environmental Quality has directed federal agencies to evaluate projects’ direct and indirect, long- and short-term, and broad-scale greenhouse gas and climate change impacts through the EIS process. Approving this crossing would complete the project, allowing a flow of oil that, when all is accounted for, would have the same annual CO2 emissions as 29 coal-fired power plants. These emissions would have a significant impact on air quality, water quality, human health, and wildlife, and would not occur if this pipeline crossing was denied. Please evaluate these impacts as part of your review, in accordance with the guidance provided by CEQ.

Finally, I support your decision to include a thorough analysis of the effects of an oil spill on Lake Oahe and the people of Standing Rock. Even the strictest precautions today will wear with age, as we have seen with other projects where poor maintenance led to disastrous results. The impacts of a spill on the local population and environment cannot be discounted—a spill 30 years from now would be just as impactful as a spill on day one, and should be treated as a near-certainty in the requestor’s preferred alternative.

Thank you again, and I look forward to your inclusion of the project’s full impacts, as well as a no-action alternative that takes into account the infeasibility of other forms of oil transportation.