WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) member, issued the following statement after SASC approved the nomination of Michele Pearce, nominee to be the General Counsel for the Army:
“In our conversations, Mrs. Pearce acknowledged there have been missed opportunities for the Justice Department to reach a settlement in North Dakota’s DAPL lawsuit. She is right, and the federal government now has the chance to right the wrongs committed by the last administration. With her nomination now heading to the Senate floor, I look forward to working with her and the Department of Justice to get the job done for North Dakota.”
As part of Pearce’s nomination, Senator Cramer secured a formal recommendation from the Army for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to enter into settlement negotiations over the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) litigation between North Dakota and the United States relating to the costs incurred from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests. Pearce currently serves as the Army’s Principal Deputy General Counsel.
The recommendation followed Senator Cramer expressing his frustration to Pearce at the hearing for her nomination about the lawsuit’s lack of progress and the federal government’s unwillingness to engage. Pearce agreed there were missed opportunities to reach a settlement and committed to working with North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to find a solution.