Will President Barack Obama take action on the Dakota Access Pipeline? In an interview with NowThis posted this week he said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is exploring “ways to reroute” the oil pipeline protested by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and their supporters in North Dakota. President Obama’s statement sounded hopeful but may not result in action soon; the president said he would let the confrontation “play out for several more weeks.”
When asked if his administration would intervene in the conflict over the Dakota Access Pipeline, President Obama said, “We’re monitoring this closely and I think as a general rule, my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans. I think right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline in a way.”
Some people didn’t seem pleased with the president’s comments. In a statement, Morton County Chairman Cody Schulz said, “Rather than creating further uncertainty, the President should be sending us the support and resources necessary to enforce the law and protect people’s right to peacefully protest.” Energy Transfer Partners spokesperson Vicki Granado said they didn’t know of any reroute considerations and they still expected to obtain an easement to start building the pipeline portion that would pass beneath the Missouri River.
When asked about treatment of the protesters, President Obama said, “I mean, it’s a challenging situation. I think that my general rule when I talk to governors and state and local officials whenever they’re dealing with protests – including, for example, during the Black Lives Matters protests – is there’s an obligation for protesters to be peaceful and there’s an obligation for authorities to show restraint.” He said he hoped everyone could have the opportunity to be heard with both sides avoiding situations where people could be hurt.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement, “We believe President Obama and his administration will do the right thing.” You can watch NowThis’s interview with the president here.