President Obama revealed that the American Indian protesters’ demonstration may be working after all. The president said that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking at rerouting the Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL) around the grounds and water, which the Standing Rock Sioux tribe consider sacred. Protesters tell a different story.
The tribe considers itself a keeper of the water, which is life. One of the tribe’s biggest concerns is that a leak in the oil pipeline as it runs under the Missouri River would be catastrophic. Ten million people rely on this as their only water source, all the way down to Kansas City and then on to St. Louis. As everyone knows, leaks are not uncommon.
The president told the online news outlet NowThis News in an interview, that his administration is carefully watching what is happening. But he intends to “let it play out for several more weeks”:
‘As a general rule, my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans, and I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipe line.’
In a response to the president’s statement, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, Dave Archambault II, said:
‘We believe President Obama and his administration will do the right thing.’
The Army Corp of Engineers is exploring the possibility of rerouting the four-state Dakota Access oil pipe line around the Standing Rock Reservation. It would go around the reservation, which sits astride the North Dakota and South Dakota border.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe sued federal regulators regarding more than 200 water crossing permits. The Army Corps of Engineers is taking a look at the project permits now, but it has not issued a finish date.
The federal government ordered a temporary halt to the work on the land surrounding and beneath Lake Oahe, which is a Missouri River reservoir in the Dakotas. The Justice Department asked pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners to voluntarily stop within 20 miles of the lake.
Construction has continued on what Native Americans dispute as private land.
The president said:
‘Were going to let it play out for several more weeks and then determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to traditions of the first Americans.’
The Army and the Interior and Justice Departments are in talks with tribal governments about a range of options to solve this problem and prevent the destruction of tribal lands. They are also looking at ways to prevent this type of incident from occurring again.
The president called it “a challenging situation”:
‘There’s an obligation for protesters to be peaceful, and there’s an obligation for authorities to show restraint. I want to make sure that as everybody is exercising their constitutional rights to be heard, that both sides are refraining from situations that might result in people being hurt.’
As it is now, the $3.8 billion pipe line would extend 1,200 miles and is projected to carry oil from North Dakota to South Dakota and Iowa. It would arrive at its shipping destination in Illinois.
Since August, more than 400 protesters have been arrested — 143 this week alone. The protesters reported that the militarized police have beaten, maced, and held them in custody. They describe the holding cells as “dog cages.”
Check out this video of the president’s interview with NowThis:
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 2, 2016