Obama seeks pipe­line fix to ap­pease Na­tive Amer­i­cans

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

BISMARCK, North Dakota (AP): PRES­I­DENT BARACK Obama has said the US Army Corps of En­gi­neers is ex­am­in­ing whether the four-state Dakota Ac­cess oil pipe­line can be rerouted in south­ern North Dakota to al­le­vi­ate the con­cerns of Amer­i­can In­di­ans.

Obama told the on­line news out­let NowThis that his ad­min­is­tra­tion is mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion closely but will “let it play out for sev­eral more weeks”.

“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,” Obama said.

The White House said the corps was ex­plor­ing a range of op­tions that would ad­dress con­cerns raised by tribal of­fi­cials and oth­ers. Separately, the Army, the Jus­tice Depart­ment and the In­te­rior Depart­ment are dis­cussing with tribal gov­ern­ments how to pre­vent fu­ture dis­putes with the fed­eral govern­ment over pub­lic works pro­jects, ac­cord­ing to the White House.

PEO­PLE BE­ING HURT

The 1,200-mile, US$3.8-bil­lion pipe­line will carry oil from North Dakota through South US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama

Dakota and Iowa to a ship­ping point at Pa­toka, Illi­nois. It will skirt the Stand­ing Rock Sioux Reser­va­tion that strad­dles the North Dakota-South Dakota bor­der.

The tribe ob­jects to the pro­ject, say­ing it could threaten drink­ing water and de­stroy sa­cred sites. The tribe has sued fed­eral reg­u­la­tors for ap­prov­ing per­mits at more than 200 water cross­ings.

Protests that have in­cluded clashes with po­lice and pipe­line se­cu­rity have also gone on for sev­eral months in North Dakota, where hun­dreds and at times thou­sands of peo­ple have set up a large camp on corps land. More than 400 protesters have been ar­rested since Au­gust. No se­ri­ous in­juries have been re­ported.

Obama called it “a chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion”.

“There’s an obli­ga­tion for protesters to be peace­ful, and there’s an obli­ga­tion for au­thor­i­ties to show re­straint,” he said. “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.”

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.

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