— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 2, 2016
The protests surrounding the North Dakota Access Pipeline continue with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the pipeline company sitting in a stalemate. In an interview with NowThis, President Obama said he was considering the how to “reroute” the pipeline as a possible solution.
The controversial $3.8 billion project was approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but it cuts close to several tribal lands in the state. The project could impact Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s water supply and sacred sites, and protesters have been clashing with police for months in encounters that have turned violent. There have been some instances of peaceful protests, including the Facebook check-ins, but the situation is still tense. Up until now, President Obama has not explicitly commented on the situation, but that has changed. He told NowThis that the administration is going to watch the situation and weigh all the options:
“We’re monitoring this closely. 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 pipeline. We’re going to let it play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of First Americans.”
Obama’s answer has been eagerly anticipated, though it sounds like a decision won’t arrive for awhile. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told The Washington Post that the administration hadn’t decided upon a solution yet because of the ongoing litigation about the pipeline:
“What I can say more generally is that the White House has been in touch with the Department of Interior and a couple of other agencies that are taking a fresh look at the procedures that they follow to incorporate input from Native American communities that could potentially be affected by infrastructure projects.”
Some protesters are hoping that Obama would halt the project entirely, similar to what he did with the Keystone XL pipeline. However, Obama has only said he would want to reroute the project.