Former New Mexico Governor BIll Richardson calls it " the most important and quintessentially American story that is playing out on the banks of the Missouri River in North Dakota right now."
Construction has halted and the heavy equipment has been removed, but the delay on the Dakota Access Pipeline is only temporary. The pipeline is already half built and the builder, Energy Transfer Partners, has made it clear it fully intends to complete the $3.8 billion project. DOJ, DOA, and DOI will invite tribes to formal government-to-government consultations on how the federal government can better ensure meaningful tribal input on infrastructure projects this fall.
As Governor of New Mexico, Richardson brought the states Indian Affairs department to a cabinet level division, in part to forge better communication and cooperation between state and tribal governments. Richardson's op-ed, Standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, brings greater insight to how energy and infrastructure growth need to be discussed among developers, state and federal governments, and Native Americans. Especailly as upcoming presidential candidates use the state of the country's infrastructure as political fodder.
Like Richardson says, this is an important story.