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Trump spox reaffirms commitment to Dakota Access pipeline despite protests

Dan Nanamkin of the Colville Nez Perce tribe in Nespelem, Washington, drums a traditional song on the shore of the Cannonball River before a group arrives by boat at the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline. (AP/David Goldman)

A spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump Monday reaffirmed his commitment to completing the Dakota Access pipeline, despite widespread protests that have led to a delay and possible re-routing of the oil pipeline in North Dakota.

Trump supports construction of the pipeline but will make a full deliberation upon taking office, the spokesman said.

“With regard to the Dakota Access Pipeline, that’s something that we support construction of and we’ll review the full situation when we’re in the White House and make the appropriate determination at that time,” Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Monday morning, protesters at the Oceti Sakowin, or Seven Council Fires, encampment celebrated a decision by the Obama administration-led Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday not to extend a necessary permit to continue the pipeline beneath a Missouri River reservoir.

Alternate routes will be considered after a full environmental study of the project, the Army statement said.

The four-state, $3.8 billion project is currently embroiled in controversy due to protests by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other anti-pipeline advocates who say that extending the pipeline beneath Lake Oahe would be a threat to the tribe’s water source.

Protesters plan to remain at the site even after a deadline requires them to stop camping on federal land. Authorities have said they do not plan to forcibly remove the protesters.

Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, has expressed a willingness to meet with Trump to express the tribe's perspective on the pipeline.

Despite protests, Trump has several options at his disposal when he takes office Jan. 20 that could lead to completion of the pipeline, according to WSJ:

Pipeline experts said Mr. Trump would have several options once he takes office to enable the $3.8 billion pipeline to proceed. That could include directing the secretary of the Army to reinstate a previous permit for the reservoir crossing, or issuing an executive order approving the pipeline.
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