"We write to express our deep concerns over recent actions that took place in North Dakota to effectively ignore the rule of law in an attempt to halt infrastructure development," the letter reads, reminding Lynch that "one of our nation's founding fathers, John Adams, once wrote that the United States is a 'government of laws, and not of men.'"
"This North Dakota project has complied with the procedures laid out in law, engaged in more than two years of federal review and has received the necessary federal approvals," the letter added. "Additionally, the project has been fully approved by all four states it traverses."
"Throughout this entire process, there are multiple opportunities for stakeholder engagement, whether through public fora or through written submittal," the letter states. "If stakeholders disagree with the government's final decision, there is a judicial process in place to address those concerns."
"Despite the federal judge's opinion, your agencies then jointly denied access to federal property necessary to complete the pipeline until the administration 'can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions' under various federal laws," the groups said. "The previous decisions now being 'reconsidered' were properly considered and made through a fair and thorough process on which the company and others are entitled to rely.
"In our 'nation of laws,' when an established legal process is complete, it is just that — complete," the letter added. "When your agencies upend or modify the results of a full and fair regulatory process for an infrastructure project, these actions do not merely impact a single company. The industries that manufacture and develop the infrastructure, the labor that builds it, and the American consumers that depend on it all suffer."
The letter included more than 20 trade groups representing not only the oil and gas industry, but also the investor-owned electric utilities, the chemical industry, paper mills, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce, and builders and steel workers.