President Barack Obama chats during lunch with Standing Rock Sioux tribe two years ago. Tribal supporters calling on the White House to stop the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. File Photo by Martin H.Simon/Pool | License Photo
MANDAN, N.D., Nov. 3 (UPI) -- President Obama needs to make good on his word and stop the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline altogether, an environmental advocacy group said.
By some estimates, there's not enough pipeline capacity to accommodate and distribute the amount of oil produced in North Dakota, so companies are relying on rail transit to make up the difference. Supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux, which opposes the Dakota Access pipeline because it skirts its sacred sites as well as water resources in the Missouri River, have resorted to protests to interfere with construction.
Speaking with the news organization Now This earlier this week, President Barack Obama said there may be ways to address concerns and reconfigure the route of the 1,100-mile pipeline.
Social change organization CREDO said the president needs to take a more definitive position on the pipeline.
"If President Obama wants to uphold his promises to do right by indigenous people and fight climate change, he must summon the political courage to intervene now and stop, not just reroute, the Dakota Access pipeline," CREDO Deputy Political Director Josh Nelson said in a statement.
A federal appeals court in October backed a lower court's ruling that construction can proceed in the face of challenges to the extent of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers consultation with tribal groups concerned about the sanctity of sacred sites.
The U.S. Departments of Justice, the Army and the Interior issued an order temporarily halting pipeline construction in the Lake Oahe area, the place at the center of the tribe's concerns, earlier this year. There's been no suggestion from either the company behind the pipeline or the Army Corps of Engineers that a reroute is under consideration.
Dave Archambault II, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, said the Army is examining the issue, though he echoed CREDO's calls for an immediate stop work order.
"The injustices done to Native people in North Dakota and throughout the country must be addressed," he said. "We believe President Obama and his administration will do the right thing."
Cory Schulz, the chairman of Morton County, N.D., said that, given the sometimes violent nature of the protest over the pipeline, the president should be sending support for law enforcement officials rather than letting the situation stand. Some pipeline protestors have faced terrorism charges.