The dispute between Native Americans and the builder of a $3.8 billion oil pipeline, known as the Dakota Access Pipeline, has put Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) in a tight spot, Bloomberg BNA reporter Ari Natter writes.
Heitkamp is a huge advocate of her state’s oil and gas industry. She also serves on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and has vowed to support Native American tribes whose reliably Democratic votes helped deliver her 2012 election victory in a very red state, Natter says.
Meanwhile, Energy Transfer Partners LP is building the 1,172-mile pipeline, which would deliver crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken formation to markets in Illinois. The pipeline has a capacity of about 470,000 barrels a day.
American Indians and environmentalists oppose the build because a portion of the pipeline would cross the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's northern boundary and upset sacred land.
Work on a portion of the pipeline was temporarily halted last week while a federal appeals court considers an emergency injunction request by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Days earlier, the Obama administration halted construction work on part of the project.
Heitkamp says the matter is out of her hands and will be decided by the courts and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But pressure is building for Heitkamp to take a stand, Natter reports.
Get the full story in Natter’s story, Heitkamp Caught Between Constituencies in Pipeline Fight.
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