Speed Reads

dakota access pipeline

Obama says Army Corps is considering ways to 'reroute' controversial Dakota Access pipeline

On Tuesday, President Obama weighed in on the Dakota Access pipeline being constructed to transport oil from North Dakota to a refinery outside Chicago, including through lands considered sacred by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The tribe has led a protest against the pipeline since April, and although it lost a ruling to have the pipeline halted in September, the Army Corps of Engineers halted construction on federal lands near the Missouri River.

The site NowThis asked Obama if he would consider stepping in to the fight over the pipeline, and Obama said maybe. "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, and I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline," he said. "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."

NowThis also asked about the heavy-handed police response to the protesters, including a large number of arrests and apparent use of rubber bullets on protesters who insist they are peaceful. "It's a challenging situation," Obama said. Generally, "there's an obligation for protesters to be peaceful, and there's an obligation for authorities to show restraint. And 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."

The pipeline, a big cause for environmentalists and Native American advocates, has not been much of a topic on the campaign trail. Hillary Clinton has said in a statement that "all voices should be heard" in "federal infrastructure projects." Donald Trump has a financial stake of up to $1 million invested in Energy Transfer Partners, the company that operates the pipeline, and its CEO has donated $103,000 to the Trump campaign and another $66,800 to the Republican National Committee.