The Dakota Access Pipeline project has caused considerable controversy in recent weeks. The project seeks to install a new pipeline to transport oil from a drilling field in far western North Dakota south and east to Illinois. The huge line would run under both the mighty Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
Although the sponsors changed part of the original proposed route, they have already begun laying pipe. The route the project sponsors currently envision crosses just north of Native American holdings through a landscape precious to the Standing Rock Sioux. The possibility of an oil leak causing environmental damage to the region has alarmed opponents.
President Obama weighed in on the controversy on November 2nd. Speaking on MSNBC, he informed viewers he has chosen to oversee closely the efforts of the Army Corps of Engineers to route the course of the pipeline. He implied the federal agency might consider another alternate route which did not cross sacred Sioux lands.
He assured the audience the Obama Administration would continue “monitoring” the situation. He also expressed his personal view it should prove possible to accommodate both the interests of pipeline proponents and people concerned about safeguarding Sioux lands. He told television viewers he would permit the debate to “play out” a bit longer.
Although some Native American opponents of the pipeline greeted the President’s remarks with enthusiasm, a spokeswoman representing the company sponsoring the pipeline asserted Energy Transfer Partners had no knowledge of any efforts to establish an alternate route.