Energy

Dakota Protesters: We’ll ‘Stand Up To Trump’ If He Approves The DAPL

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Only a handful of dedicated anti-oil protesters and American Indian members remain at campsites located near the now-rejected Dakota Access Pipeline project.

Most of the remaining protesters are members of Standing Rock Sioux, the tribe whose reservation stands more than a mile from the pipeline’s route.

The 1,000 remaining protesters are a pale comparison to the nearly 10,000 protesters who occupied the area throughout the summer and fall. They remain even though the Army Corps of Engineer’s rejected the previously approved project on Dec. 9.

The tribe believes the DAPL’s construction would trample on tribal lands and possibly poison waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

Other activists are hanging out because they’re worried Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company building the multi-billion-dollar project, will continue construction without people blocking the line.

“I’ve seen some of my friends leave but I will be here until the end and will stand up to Trump if he decides to approve the permit,” Victor Herrald, of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, told reporters. He’s occupied the Oceti Sakowin Camp in Cannon Ball, N.D., since August.

The protesters might have legitimate reason to be concerned.

The fate of the nearly 1,200-mile-long line, which is expected to bring 470,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois, will almost certainly fall into the hands of President-elect Donald Trump, who has made no bones about his support for the project.

“I will tell you, when I get to office, if it’s not solved, I’ll have it solved very quickly,” the president elect, who once invested $1 million into the project, told Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Dec. 11. The former reality TV star is generally in favor of updating the country’s infrastructure, including more oil pipelines.

The pipeline meanwhile is caught in limbo – ETP cannot continue to build the last remaining section of the project without approval from the government, so it is taking the fight to the courts.

The $3.8 billion DAPL is losing $20 million every day the project is delayed, David Debold, an attorney representing Dakota Access, told District Court for the District of Columbia’s Judge James Boasberg on the first day of court hearings.

The court is expected to decide on the DAPL sometime in late February.

The date may not come quick enough for the company, because Dakota Access will bleed more than $1 billion in lost profit by the time the review process is wrapped up if Debold’s estimate is extrapolated over a three-month period

The project, once completed, will create up to 12,000 construction jobs and provide millions in state and local revenues during the construction phase, and an estimated $129 million annually in property and income taxes, according to the Army Corps.

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