As Native American groups continue to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Army Corps is considering ways to “reroute” the pipeline, according to an interview with NowThis, NPR reports.
The $3.8 billion, nearly 1,200-mile pipeline is expected to cross under a section of the Missouri River that is less than a mile from the Standing Rock Indian reservation. Native American groups have openly objected to the pipeline, saying that it will damage their water supply and that it infringes upon sacred sites. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been protesting the construction of the pipeline for months, and those protests have been met with a violent response from law enforcement.
In an interview with NowThis, Obama addressed the issue and said that rerouting the pipeline was under consideration.
“We’re monitoring this closely. I think as a general rule, my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans,” Obama said. “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 the first Americans,” Obama added.
Obama was asked if something could be done about law enforcement’s response to the protesters, including the use of rubber bullets.
“It’s a challenging situation. I think that my general rule when I talk to governors and state and local officials whenever they are dealing with protests, including, for example, during the Black Lives Matter protests, is there’s an obligation for protesters to be peaceful,” Obama said. “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.”
There is nothing in Obama’s statement indicating that construction on the pipeline will be halted. The president has a little over 11 weeks left in office, and saying that the situation will be allowed to “play out for several more weeks” is an openly ambiguous statement that means the fight to stop the destructive pipeline may continue for months to come.
Read more at NPR.