Reid to Trump: Reroute Dakota pipeline

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that the incoming Trump administration should work to find an alternative route for the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

“I encourage the new administration and the Army Corps of Engineers to continue finding alternative routes,” said the outgoing top Senate Democrat. “There is one out there. It should not be hard. There is no reason that this situation cannot be remedied in a manner that’s fair to all.”

{mosads}Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who caucuses with Democrats, and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) have also called on President Obama to reroute the pipeline.

But Reid added Monday that with less than two months left in his term, Obama likely won’t be able to resolve the dispute before he leaves office.

“To make matters worse, heavy polluting industries are fighting to return to the days of limited pollution under the next administration,” Reid said. “Can the Standing Rock Sioux tribe depend on the man who is financially invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline? Probably not. This is about more than President-elect Trump or fossil fuel profits.”

The Army Corps of Engineers said earlier this month that it would not grant an easement for construction of the pipeline until it has talked with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The tribe is suing to stop the pipeline, arguing it threatens cultural heritage sites and the tribe’s drinking water supply. 

Reid on Monday called the announcement the “right thing” and tied the fight over the pipeline to centuries-old disputes between Native American tribes and the federal government. 

“The Standing Rock Sioux protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline has everything to do with the history of broken promises and institutionalized disregard for the rights of their own land as well as the trusteeship between the Indian tribe and the federal government of the United States,” he said.

But Reid added that it is “past time” for the situation to be resolved peacefully.

“The violence at Standing Rock must end. I’m confident that President Obama’s administration are taking the necessary steps to address the situation,” he said.

The Associated Press reported last week that the Army Corps sent a letter to the tribe saying it would close all lands north of the Cannonball River, which would include part of the area where protestors have set up, on Dec. 5. 

Tags Bernie Sanders Harry Reid Martin Heinrich

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