This week, a grossly hypocritical Senate Committee appointment went into effect rather sneakily. Mic reported that on Tuesday Republican North Dakota Senator John Hoeven was elected chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
Hoeven, a staunch supporter of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines and former North Dakota governor, is just about the most inappropriate man for the job. According to the committee’s website, Hoeven’s responsibilities will include advancing legislation that addresses the concerns of native peoples, including economic and land management issues.
“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,” Hoeven said in a statement released Thursday. “In our roles, we will address the issue of job creation, natural resource management, health care, education, public safety and housing in Indian communities.” Charming.
The Dakota Access pipeline plan garnered national attention this past fall. Protesters argued that the $3.7 billion oil pipelines would destroy the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s main water supply and sacred lands.
In remarks made on November 30 to the Senate on the matter of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Hoeven transparently favored the interests of oil profiteers over those of Sioux Tribe members:
“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.”
Five days later, the Army Corps of Engineers blocked the Dakota Access Pipeline from drilling on Standing Rock Sioux Reservation land.