The CEO of the company developing the Dakota Access pipeline said his firm intends to finish the controversial project, regardless of protests against it in North Dakota.
Construction on a small segment of the 1,170-mile project is on hold until Energy Transfer Partners receives a federal easement to build under the Missouri River in North Dakota.
The federal government this week approved of its previous permitting decision on the project but said it won’t issue the easement until it consults with a local tribe that objects to the pipeline.
Asked about the ultimate fate of the project on "PBS Newshour" Wednesday night, Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren said the project will ultimately move forward, even if it means waiting for the Trump administration to grant the easement next year.
"The people of the state of North Dakota are generally, generally wonderful people, law-abiding, nonviolent people, and they’re trying to go about their lives,” Warren said, noting protests against the pipeline in the region.
“This has been such a disruption to that state. This is not a peaceful protest. So, if they want to stick around and continue to do what they’re doing, great, but we’re building the pipeline.”
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota opposes Dakota Access, warning that it threatens drinking water and cultural sites in the region. The tribe has sued against the project, and its opposition has spurred protests against the pipeline in North Dakota and around the country.
Energy Transfer Partners on Tuesday asked a federal court to grant it the permits necessary to complete the project, a $3.8 billion pipeline to carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois.