President Obama on DAPL: “A Challenging Situation”; Considers Rerouting Pipeline
President Obama is looking into the possibilities of rerouting the pipeline.
But local authorities are worried about the protests escalating.
Obama says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is actively trying to figure out if the pipeline can be rerouted in southern North Dakota.
They want to alleviate the concerns by Native Americans over threats to drinking water and sacred land.
Obama told NowThis, an online news outlet, that his administration is watching the Pipeline conflict closely, but will, “let it play out for several more weeks.”
Governor Jack Dalrymple encourages the Obama administration to help resolve the situation rather than “let it play out,” citing public safety for area farmers and ranchers as the top priority.
We spoke with Chase Iron Eyes, democratic nominee for North Dakota U.S. House of Representatives.
He says he understands the need for the pipeline, but wants a resolution which fits the needs of Native Americans.
“I think we should be protecting our water resources,” he explained. “I’m not against pipelines. I’m not. But we should not put water at risk. That’s the foundation of all our economic future, our economic potential is based on that.”
Morton County chairman Cody Schulz says by letting it “play out,” Obama is putting lives in danger citing a recent escalation in violence by protesters.
Schulz says the President is giving an opportunity to out-of-state militia.
Barry Nelson is an organizer of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition.
He says if Dakota Access proceeds with it’s current plan, the company would violate the human rights of natives.
“The pipeline was going to be routed north of Bismarck,” said Nelson. “People of Bismarck were concerned about the safety of that siting, and so it was changed away from that and immediately upstream from the access point of water for Native Americans. I can’t think of a more basic human right than drinkable water.”
Nelson says when he visited the protest camp, leaders banned guns, drugs and alcohol from the premises.
Obama’s calling this a “challenging situation,” saying protesters are obligated to be peaceful and authorities must show restraint.