Sierra Club Statement on Biden Administration’s Inaction on the Dakota Access Pipeline


Liz Doherty,

Washington, DC -- Today, the Biden Administration announced they will maintain the Trump Administration’s position and allow oil to continue to flow through this illegally-constructed pipeline, threatening tribal lands, drinking water, and the climate rather than take action and shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

For years, Indigenous leaders, including the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, have led the fight against DAPL, calling on President Biden to restore balance and Nation to Nation relations by taking action to shut the pipeline down, just as he has done with Keystone XL.

In late January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that DAPL was operating illegally. The court ordered a broad, robust environmental review and impact statement which would examine the pipeline’s climate impacts, potential oil spills, and impacts on Tribes. Despite an environmental review, the court allowed the pipeline to continue operating.

On his first day in office, President Biden canceled Keystone XL, a huge and hard-fought victory for communities, clean water, and climate. Former President Barack Obama had also rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, but also took the step of refusing to grant the final easement permit on DAPL, instead, he ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a more thorough Environmental Impact Statement.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

“President Biden campaigned and was elected on the boldest climate platform ever. Minutes after being sworn in, Biden began taking real, meaningful climate action. Less than a week into office, the President issued a memorandum on strengthening Tribal consultation. Yet, President Biden’s actions today fail to live up to the climate and Tribal commitments he made, nor is it in line with the bold action he has taken since taking office.

“The Dakota Access Pipeline is a dirty, dangerous, illegally-constructed pipeline that has continued to threaten Tribal sovereignty and our collective right to clean water and a healthy, sustainable climate. Continued and expanded reliance on crude oil is not compatible with the President’s own climate commitments, including the ones we expect him to make in weeks' time at his climate summit.

“The climate crisis demands that President Biden and his administration seize every opportunity to confront it. Today’s decision is deeply disappointing, and we expect the courts to rightfully put an end to the Dakota Access Pipeline, just as we expect the President's future actions to meet his rhetoric and commitments.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit