President-elect Donald Trump's transition team announced in a briefing on Thursday that Trump wants to see the Dakota Access Pipeline completed. Trump owns a stake in Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, which includes a section near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota.
Thousands of protesters have spent months demonstrating against the $3.8 billion pipeline, which is supposed to go under a lake near the reservation. There are concerns that the project poses a threat to water in the area and sites that are sacred to Native Americans. The protesters are facing snow and freezing temperatures, and a large group of military veterans are on their way to join the camp to offer protection, Reuters reports.
In the briefing, sent to campaign supporters and congressional staff, the team said that Trump's support of the pipeline "has nothing to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans." In fact, the team continued, anyone who believes otherwise "is only attempting to distract" from Trump's "serious policy proposals."