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Obama ‘Will Do the Right Thing’: Standing Rock Welcomes Potential DAPL Rerouting

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman David Archambault II welcomed President Barack Obama's news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is studying DAPL
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Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II welcomed the news that President Barack Obama had indicated the Dakota Access Pipeline could be rerouted.

“We applaud President Obama’s commitment to protect our sacred lands, our water, and the water of 17 million others,” Archambault said in a statement after news broke that Obama had told a reporter for the news website "Now This" that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was studying the possibility.

Speaking to “Now This” Managing Editor Versha Sharma, Obama said the Administration was paying attention.

“We’re monitoring this closely,” he said. “As a general rule my view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands, Native Americans, and I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline.”

Action would not be that swift, he added.

“So 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 said, noting that the ongoing clashes between water protectors and police made for a “challenging situation…. There’s an obligation for protesters to be peaceful. 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.”

Even as DAPL construction neared the Missouri River, Archambault urged Obama to call a halt to the construction.

“While the Army Corps of Engineers is examining this issue we call on the administration and the Corps to issue an immediate ‘stop work order’ on the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Archambault said. “And given the flawed process that has put our drinking water in jeopardy, we also urge the Administration to call for a full environmental impact study.”

Archambault also touched on the recent attacks by militarized police on water protectors attempting to keep pipeline construction from entering a 20-mile buffer zone on either side of the Missouri River that the federal government had asked pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners to respect.

“The nation and the world are watching,” Archambault said. “The injustices done to Native people in North Dakota and throughout the country must be addressed. We believe President Obama and his Administration will do the right thing."