What's next for the Dakota Access Pipeline -- ND lawmakers weigh in

By  | 

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) President-elect Donald Trump met with North Dakota lawmakers after the Obama Administration put the brakes on the Dakota Access Pipeline, denying a permit to finish the route.

Tribal and environmental groups are rejoicing this week after the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit to complete the pipeline. However, that victory could be short-lived.

"Celebrate while you can, I suppose. This is clearly not over," said Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

Rep. Cramer recently met with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss the pipeline and says the decision will likely be reversed.

"I think we can get this handled rather quickly in a Trump administration," Cramer said. "He can get that easement in the hands of the companies so they can start construction sometime in middle to early early mid 2017."

The Department of the Army is now exploring alternative routes for the pipeline crossing, but Rep. Cramer says it's too late.

"It's really not an option because the pipeline is all but done, the only thing left is to go under the river in that spot," Cramer said.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) also believes the permit's denial could be short-lived, after a meeting with the President-elect in Trump tower last week.

"He had expressed support for the Dakota Access Pipeline, so it seems fairly clear that in a Trump Administration, it's likely that we would see the easement issued," Sen. Heitkamp said.

Sen John Hoeven (R-ND), also meeting this week with Vice President-elect Mike Pence to discuss how to move forward.

"The new administration has come out and said they support the project, and they will help us with federal law enforcement to support state and local law enforcement," Sen. Hoeven said.

Hoeven says the Trump Administration is also focusing on changing the structure of the Army Corps of Engineers' permitting process.

"We've got to improve the permitting process so we don't have situations like we've had with the Dakota Access Pipeline," Hoeven said.

Instead of waiting until the president-elect takes office next month, Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, is already taking legal action in Federal court, saying the delays have already cost the company $450 million.

Read the original version of this article at www.graydc.com.