The head of the company building the Dakota Access oil pipeline said Friday that it won’t be rerouted but that he’d like to meet with the head of a Native American tribe to try to ease the tribe’s concerns about the project.
Kelcy Warren, chief executive of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, told the Associated Press that the company has no alternative than to stick to its plan for the $3.8-billion pipeline, which would ship oil from North Dakota to Illinois and which is nearly completed.
“There’s not another way. We’re building at that location,” Warren said.
Warren said he would welcome the chance to meet with Dave Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, to address the tribe’s concerns that the pipeline skirting its reservation would endanger drinking water and cultural sites.
Archambault, who was with celebrity sympathizers including actors Shailene Woodley and Ezra Miller who toured the tribe’s protest encampment Friday, said he’d be willing to meet with Warren but that he didn’t think it would make a difference.
“We already know what he’s going to say — that this is the cleanest, safest pipeline ever,” the chairman said. “What he doesn’t know is that this is still an issue for Standing Rock and all indigenous people.”
The 1,200-mile, four-state pipeline is largely complete except for a section that would pump oil under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir in southern North Dakota. The Standing Rock tribe fears a leak could contaminate drinking water and says the project also threatens sacred sites, which Warren disputes.
President Obama earlier this month raised the possibility of rerouting the pipeline, and Archambault has told the AP that would be acceptable to the tribe as long as the new route wouldn’t take it near the reservation.