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Know the West

Obama weighs in on the Dakota Access pipeline

As protests intensify, U.S. Army Corps may consider ‘ways to reroute.’


This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. 

The US Army Corps of Engineers may consider “ways to reroute” the Dakota Access Pipeline, President Barack Obama said during an interview on Tuesday. Though Obama did not say whether he would intervene in pipeline's construction, he told NowThisNews that his administration was closely monitoring the issue. “As a general rule, my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans,” said Obama. He later added, “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 the first Americans.”


Protests over the pipeline have continued to escalate in recent weeks, with police using tear gas, rubber pellets, and sound cannons against demonstrators occupying the construction site. Protesters say that the 1,172-mile pipeline would damage sacred lands and endanger the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Tribal members have also accused the US Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency that issued the permit for the pipeline’s construction, of failing to properly assess its impact. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump have taken a clear position on the issue. In October, Bernie Sanders and several other senators called on Obama to halt the pipeline’s construction.

When asked about some of the police tactics towards protestors, Obama urged both sides to show “There’s an obligation for protesters to be peaceful,” he said, “and there’s an obligation for authorities to show restraint.”