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Showdown at Standing Rock

How Obama Can Still Reroute the Pipeline

An encampment at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, November 2016. Stephanie Keith / Reuters

In a bid to ease tensions over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, U.S. President Barack Obama announced on November 1 that the Army Corp of Engineers is considering alternate routes for 1,172-mile pipeline, which was designed to bring half a million gallons of crude from North Dakota’s Bakken fields across four states to Illinois. The pipeline’s path is set to cross the Missouri river within a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. In his statement, Obama attempted to defuse the standoff between the pipeline company and its opponents - the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its growing ranks of allies, saying “we're going to let it play out for several more weeks and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that I think is properly attentive to the traditions of the first Americans.”

Obama’s recognition that the pipeline should be

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