In an ironic move by the United States Senate, Republican North Dakota Senator John Hoeven was elected chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
The North Dakota Senator and former North Dakota governor is a staunch supporter of both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. As the committee’s website states, his responsibilities will include working on legislation that serves the interests and concerns of native peoples.
In a statement that was released on Thursday, Hoeven said,
“I am honored to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and look forward to working….to pass legislation that helps improve the lives of people across Indian Country. In our roles, we will address the issue of job creation, natural resource management, health care, education, public safety and housing in Indian communities.”
The Dakota Access pipeline was the subject of national attention just this past fall, as protesters claimed that the pipelines would be detrimental to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s main water supply, as well as sacred lands.
When commenting on the Dakota Access Pipeline to the Senate on November 30th, Hoeven very blatantly favored those who stood to financially profit from the pipeline than the Sioux Tribe protesting it:
“In accordance with the finding of the Army Corps’ environmental assessment and court decisions, the Army Corps needs to follow established legal and regulatory criteria and approve the final easement so that construction can be completed. In addition, federal resources should be deployed expeditiously to protect people and property in the area of violent protests to help support state and local law enforcement efforts.”
Although the Army Corps of Engineers later blocked the Dakota Access Pipeline from drilling on native lands, it is still a very alarming appointment.