Greedy companies are using a loophole in federal law called Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12 to ram through fossil fuel pipelines and other infrastructure at the cost of our climate and communities. But thanks to an executive order from President Biden regarding environmental justice, climate change and drinking water, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been forced to revisit, or even revoke the loophole.
NWP12 was used to fast-track approval the Keystone XL pipeline, before President Biden canceled it. And it’s still being used to push through the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the illegally operating Dakota Access Pipeline, and Line 3. This is our chance to shut the loophole, and shut down a lot of pipelines.
Here’e what’s been happening: Nationwide Permits are supposed to be used for big infrastructure projects that are in the national interest, and have “minimal” environmental impact. NWP12 deals specifically with the Clean Water Act and projects (like pipelines) that cross rivers, streams, and wetlands. But starting in the early 2000’s, fossil fuel pipeline developers started abusing the process – Using something like a FERC permit to claim that their projects were “in the national interest”, they’d ask the USACE to use NWP12 to preemptively declare that their project wouldn’t harm local waterways.
We’ve seen what happens when pipeline developers game the system: In Minnesota, local activists documented dozens of cases of water pollution, spills, and leaks from the Line 3 pipeline, even as Enbridge hid behind a NWP12 permit from the USACE. The Dakota Access Pipeline used NWP12 to circumvent local treaty rights and illegally operate their pipeline, even as protectors continue to demand they stop with cries of Mni Wiconi — water is life!
Fortunately, President Biden issued Executive Order 13990 in response to years of ongoing organizing and lawsuits. Earlier this year, USACE briefly paused of NWP12 and narrowed it to only apply to certain oil and gas pipelines. Now, USACE is reconsidering the entire permit, and if enough of us speak out we can repeal it for good.
But the current comment period closes on May 27, so we have to act fast! Click here to send a comment to the USACE and President Biden telling them to repeal Nationwide Permit 12 for good!