Rep. Huffman Applauds the Obama Administration’s Move to Deny Easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline
Washington, D.C.- Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) today applauded the Army Corps of Engineers’ announcement that they will deny the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross Lake Oahe and will issue a full environmental impact statement on the effects of the pipeline. This announcement came at the urging of Congressman Huffman, who led a letter with Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) just weeks ago, asking the federal government to take this very step.
“Since July, tensions have escalated to a boiling point at the Dakota Access Pipeline, and I thank the Obama administration for this bold announcement today, to diffuse what may have otherwise been a tragic conflict,” said Rep. Huffman. “By denying the easement at Lake Oahe and by completing a full environmental review, the federal government is taking a necessary step to ensure our nation is not complicit in yet another grave injustice to Native Americans. Today, justice and environmental protection have won out over arrogance, greed and pollution. We can all be proud that our government has listened, weighed the equities and the implications of this consequential decision, and has bravely done the right thing."
Rep. Huffman has helped lead the effort in Congress in pushing for accountability and justice at the Dakota Access Pipeline site.
In his November 15th letter, on which he was joined by 22 lawmakers, Congressman Huffman called on President Obama to deny the easement for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe. That letter also called for the Department of Justice to send observers to ensure water protectors and journalists' safety.
On November 28, he led another congressional letter with Rep. Grijalva, requesting an immediate meeting with White House and Department of Justice officials to demand accountability for alarming treatment of Water Protectors and peaceful demonstrators at the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, and to denounce the closure of the Oceti Sakowin camp.
Anti-Trump Protest in Arcata
Old Town Trump Protest
Today, we informed the California Department of Public Health that we are rescinding our closure plans for Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center and Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, and will only move forward with our closure plans at Pacific Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.
As a result of this request, no patients will need to be transferred out of the community. All patients at Pacific Rehabilitation and Wellness Center will be offered relocation at our other four local skilled nursing facilities.
It is important to understand how we got here, and how we have arrived at this decision.
Last year, our five skilled nursing facilities in Humboldt County began experiencing significant financial losses due to the lack of available health care workers in Humboldt County and the lack of adequate reimbursement.
To help drive recruitment, we raised salaries in November 2015 and January 2016, but our losses only multiplied. Five months ago, we approached all community stakeholders to seek solutions to the desperate problems of a staffing shortage that has negatively impacted not only us, but local hospitals and other healthcare providers throughout Humboldt County.
After months of searching for solutions and because the outlook for 2017 was more dire than 2016, we made the difficult decision to file closure plans for three of our local facilities. Despite efforts of some local officials and a local union to disparage us, we took efforts to work with everyone to ensure a safe and orderly transfer of our patients.
In the months since announcing these closures we have continued to attempt to work with others to come up with a different way out. However, it has become clear that the critical participants are not willing to do anything to solve these serious problems. After speaking at length with the patients, families and staff throughout Humboldt County, we have decided that despite the enormous financial difficulty that we will sustain as a result, there is no way we can close these facilities.
We won’t be a part of patients being forced to move 300 miles away simply because the system fails to appropriately pay for their healthcare.
In addition, as these facilities will continue to lose money, we will be establishing a charity foundation in Humboldt County for the care and treatment of the elderly to directly fund these losses. We will be working with local stakeholders to determine how we can better care for our elderly and ensure that they have the necessary care and services locally.
We appreciate the stakeholders that worked with us throughout this difficult process, and look forward to our continued work throughout Humboldt County.
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