President Obama said on Wednesday that federal officials are considering a possible rerouting of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in response to objections voiced by Native American groups.
In an interview with Now This, Obama said that he believes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are currently examining whether the pipeline will be rerouted.
“We’re going to let it play out for several more weeks and then 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.
The Army Corps has not commented on the matter.
The Army Corps, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Interior halted construction along a small stretch of the pipeline’s North Dakota route in September.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. ruled last month that construction could continue after denying a request for an injunction to stop construction filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The injunction was part of a lawsuit filed by the tribe that alleged the Army Corps violated environmental and historical preservation laws when it approved the pipeline.
Native American and environmentalist groups have also expressed concerns about potential water quality impacts tied to the project.
Following the ruling, the Army Corps said that construction work on land bordering or under Lake Oahe will continue to be paused while federal officials review the project.
Lake Oahe straddles the border between North Dakota and South Dakota.
The federal agencies said last month that they hope to complete the review “soon.”
The 1,172-mile pipeline will stretch from North Dakota to Illinois and is scheduled to be online in late 2016.
The majority of the DAPL route runs through privately-held land and neither Lake Oahe nor the land abutting it are currently owned or controlled by a Native American group.
In a memo obtained by Common Dreams, Energy Transfer CEO Kelcy Warren wrote that construction on the pipeline was about 60 percent complete as of late September.
Warren added in the memo that “multiple archaeological studies” carried out with state preservation offices found “no sacred items” along the DAPL route.
The pipeline route has been the site of several protests this year that have resulted in hundreds of arrests.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations is reportedly looking into fire set at a construction site along the DAPL’s route in Iowa last month.
Assistant Chief of the Reasnor Fire Department Don Steenhoek told KCCI that he believes protesters may have started the fire.