Rep. Cramer: Trump Cabinet Politics Could Inhibit Federal Help With Renewed Dakota Access Protests


U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a signed executive order to advance construction of the Dakota Access pipeline at the White House in Washington January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Earlier today President Donald Trump signed an executive order to move head with issuing a permit to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The project had been held up by political games from the Obama administration, with the former president refusing to issue an easement to cross the Lake Oahe reservoir and initiating another lengthy environmental review. Trump, with today’s actions, seems intent on rolling back those decisions and clearing the way for the project, which is already more than 90 percent completed, to be finished.

But this decisions means North Dakotans, who have already weathered months of terrorizing and violent protests from #NoDAPL activists, are likely going to see another spike in activist activity. Will the Trump administration also be reversing the Obama administration’s decision to largely hold back federal law enforcement assistance?

I asked Congressman Kevin Cramer about that during an interview today. He said there’s no clear answer at this point, and that it’s an issue clouded by the partisan politics surrounding the confirmation of Trump’s cabinet.

“So far we don’t have an Attorney General,” Cramer told me. “That’s a little bit of a dilemma.”

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]…Cramer said resumption of work on the pipeline could be “imminent if not immediate.”[/mks_pullquote]

A vote to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for AG, was delayed in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee earlier today.

As for the pipeline project itself, Cramer said resumption of work on the pipeline could be “imminent if not immediate.”

“I don’t know why it would take long,” Cramer said of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s response to Trump’s executive order. “They already have the easement. They’ve had it for 8-9 months.”

Cramer also weighed in on the Keystone XL project which was also derailed by the Obama administration and which Trump also addressed with an executive order today. That situation is a little different because TransCanada, the company trying to build the project, had withdrawn their request for a permit after years of delays from the Obama administration.

Trump’s order today was essentially an invitation for TransCanada to submit a new request for a permit for the pipeline which would have capacity for about 100,000 barrels per day of North Dakota oil.

“TransCanada still wants that pipeline,” Cramer told me. “I have no doubt they will apply again.”

Here’s the full audio:

[fcc_jw_podcast key=”rx2KXk3a” player-image=”135931″]