Hillary Clinton’s presidential running mate said Monday he backs President Barack Obama’s call to reroute a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota.
Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine praised the push to reroute the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and called it “the right thing to do.” He also suggested the company should jump at the opportunity to reroute.
“If it’s an important enough project,” Kaine added, “you ought to be able to find a route that works.”
American Indians associated with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe argue the pipeline’s construction would trample on tribal lands and destroy artifacts. They also believe it could potentially poison waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
Demonstrators are refusing to budge from various sites around the pipeline, with some telling reporters that they will only leave once the “big black snake” is finally defeated. The DAPL protests have grown increasingly violent since they first began in August.
The uptick in violence prompted Obama to call for the reroute.
The government is going to let the entire process play out for several more weeks to allow “first Americans” the opportunity to have their concerns met, Obama told reporters Nov 2.
Kaine’s decision to rip on the DAPL is interesting considering he etched out favorable positions on oil and natural gas when he was Virginia’s governor.
The oil and gas industry even expressed support for Kaine.
“We’re encouraged by the reasonable approach he’s taken on oil and natural gas, that he hasn’t been swayed by politics and ideology,” Miles Morin, executive director of the industry group Virginia Petroleum, told reporters in mid-July.
Clinton’s view on natural gas meanwhile has morphed from being generally in favor of fracking in 2010, to promising to phase out fossil fuels development in 2015 on public lands if elected president.
The former secretary of state’s position on fracking has continued to evolve. She told union members in a private meeting during the primaries, for instance, that anti-fracking activists supporting her primary presidential opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, should “get a life.”
“[M]y view is I want to defend natural gas,” Clinton said in a transcript of a private meeting with a union that was sent to her campaign. WikiLeaks, which illegally hacked accounts of Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, made the conversation public.
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