The Hill recently highlighted questions Michael Connor, President Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, received during a hearing this week regarding the Corps’ review of the Dakota Access Pipeline and concerns of politicization. The Biden nominee pledged to ensure that the environmental review will not be politicized, and will focus on the science and facts.
U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota asked Connor, “If you’re confirmed, with this EIS continuing… do I have your commitment that you’ll do everything you can to keep politics out of the EIS process?”
Connor asserted, “Yes, we need to move forward consistent with law and the very clear direction the court has given. Those are legal questions and they’re technical questions that need to be followed up. I want to oversee that and understand it given the visibility of the issue and the importance of tribal consultation.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren also questioned Connor regarding DAPL during the hearing. With assurance, Conner maintained that he would be following every law with respect to the directions of the court. The Massachusetts Democrat’s concern was met head-on with Connor’s confidence in the ability to get the job done correctly. Connor continued to say that improving relationships between tribal communities and the Corps would “be one of [his] highest priorities” and “Tribal consultation is not a check-the-box exercise, it’s got to be robust [and] meaningful and that means it’s got to be substantive in the interaction with tribes.”
As the nominated assistant secretary for the Army for civil works asserted, the Dakota Access Pipeline review will not be politicized if he is entrusted to lead the Corps. It will be about the facts, figures, and downright truth.