Report faults fed failure to consult with tribes on projects

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A group of U.S. lawmakers and tribal leaders are calling attention to a watchdog report that says federal agencies need to improve their process of consulting with tribes on major infrastructure projects.

The Government Accountability Office began its review of federal agencies at lawmakers’ request following criticism three years ago over the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

A top complaint was that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to properly consult with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe before initially approving a pipeline route that ran beneath a source of drinking water.

The GAO report says numerous tribes told federal officials that they were consulted only during the late stages of a project.

Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, said Wednesday he’s sponsoring legislation that would establish a mandatory tribal consultation process for federal agencies.

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