A Native American tribe is at the center of an historic dispute in North Dakota, over an oil pipeline project they say threatens their main source of water.

The Dakota Access Pipeline would carry approximately 500,000 barrels of crude oil from the Bakken and Three Forks production area through four states, ending in Illinois. A portion of the pipeline would also pass 90 feet under the Missouri River, a water source for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Ron His Horse Is Thunder, a former chairman for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, is concerned.

“If this pipeline is built and it breaks-and it will break, maybe not tomorrow may be 20 years from now, it will break.  We estimate it will take about 20 minutes to get to our first water intake.”

The project is temporarily on hold, after three federal agencies ordered the company, Energy Transfer Partners, to halt construction on a portion of the project near the tribal land until further review.

The tribe worries that the pipeline would also disturb ancient and sacred Native American sites. Thousands have descended on the region to support their cause.

“We’re not opposed to energy independence,” Tribe Chairman David Archambault told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “This is a long history of problems that evolved over time where the federal government or corporations take advantage of indigenous lands and indigenous rights – these injustices that we’re experiencing have been happening over and over and over again. What we’re opposed to is paying for all the benefits that this country receives, paying the cost.”

Labor unions are pushing back, saying workers will be out of until construction resumes. According to Rep. Kevin Cramer, North Dakota’s only congressman and member of the House Committee of Energy and Commerce, there are too many parties involved.

“The issue is can we keep this between the pipeline company, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe where we have a lot of reasonable people that I think can work it out. the challenge comes with the large out of state national entities, even international entities, whose agenda is perhaps different, clearly different from Standing Rock’s who have legit questions about the proximity of the pipeline”

At issue is whether the Army Corps of Engineers erroneously granted a permit to Energy Transfers to build the Dakota Access pipeline just half a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux’s reservation under Lake Oahe. The tribe holds that the Army Corps of didn’t listen to their complaints. The Army Corps of Engineers holds that the tribe didn’t attend all of the meetings, but that the tribe’s concerns were taking into consideration.

While the project undergoes a review, Cramer believes it is unfair to the company which legally obtained every permit required prior to the start of the construction phase. However, he is open to discussing how the process can be improved to avoid conflicts in the future.

“The government consultation process is really what’s at debate,” Cramer says. “I think the problem is going to be, now, where it’s become retroactive and the admin’s pulled the permit and said we’re going to review our process and maybe we have to do this again a different way.”

Check out our video for an on-the-ground look at the protest encampment and watch Cramer’s full interview here.

Show More

Related Videos

  • Full Rep. Kevin Cramer Interview

    September 24, 2016

    Full Rep. Kevin Cramer Interview

    September 24, 2016

    Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), member on the House Committee of Energy and Commerce, explains h...

  • How A North Carolina Community Came Together to Fight Environmental Racism

    September 26, 2021

    How A North Carolina Community Came Together to Fight Environmental Racism

    September 26, 2021

    Fighting environmental racism is never easy. The communities often targeted lack the resou...

  • How a Warming Planet is Transforming American Life

    September 26, 2021

    How a Warming Planet is Transforming American Life

    September 26, 2021

    Nearly a third of Americans live in a county hit by a weather disaster in the last three m...

  • Thousands Fled California’s Caldor Fire. They Lived; But Their Homes Are Gone.

    September 26, 2021

    Thousands Fled California’s Caldor Fire. They Lived; But Their Homes Are Gone.

    September 26, 2021

    Catastrophic weather events are getting worse. As the climate continues to change, the wor...

  • How Climate Change is Intensifying the Destruction Caused By Natural Disasters

    September 5, 2021

    How Climate Change is Intensifying the Destruction Caused By Natural Disasters

    September 5, 2021

    Americans from coast to coast are facing devastating weather disasters. Hurricane Ida floo...

  • “Code Red” Warning About The Future of Climate Change

    August 15, 2021

    “Code Red” Warning About The Future of Climate Change

    August 15, 2021

    Hundreds of climate scientists are sounding the alarm bell with a new landmark report on c...

  • Why Rising Waters Are Still A Concern Beyond the Coasts

    July 18, 2021

    Why Rising Waters Are Still A Concern Beyond the Coasts

    July 18, 2021

    The West and Southwest U.S. are facing a historic and deadly heatwave. This summer has bro...

  • September 21, 2019

    September 28, 2019

    September 21, 2019

    September 28, 2019

Latest

  • How A North Carolina Community Came Together to Fight Environmental Racism

    September 26, 2021

    How A North Carolina Community Came Together to Fight Environmental Racism

    September 26, 2021

    Fighting environmental racism is never easy. The communities often targeted lack...

  • Thousands Fled California’s Caldor Fire. They Lived; But Their Homes Are Gone.

    September 26, 2021

    Thousands Fled California’s Caldor Fire. They Lived; But Their Homes Are Gone.

    September 26, 2021

    Catastrophic weather events are getting worse. As the climate continues to chang...

  • How a Warming Planet is Transforming American Life

    September 26, 2021

    How a Warming Planet is Transforming American Life

    September 26, 2021

    Nearly a third of Americans live in a county hit by a weather disaster in the la...

  • How a Brewery is Battling Gang Violence One Pint at a Time

    September 19, 2021

    How a Brewery is Battling Gang Violence One Pint at a Time

    September 19, 2021

    Something special is brewing at a North Carolina brewery. They’re using beer to ...

  • Finding Refuge for Afghan Refugees in the U.S.

    September 19, 2021

    Finding Refuge for Afghan Refugees in the U.S.

    September 19, 2021

    Last month, U.S. troops evacuated more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan. Of ...

  • What Happens When Pandemic Aid Ends But the Pandemic Isn’t Over

    September 19, 2021

    What Happens When Pandemic Aid Ends But the Pandemic Isn’t Over

    September 19, 2021

    Most of the financial aid offered at the beginning of the pandemic has come to a...

  • How the Pandemic Could Change the Future of Nursing

    September 12, 2021

    How the Pandemic Could Change the Future of Nursing

    September 12, 2021

    Sandra Lindsay was the first person in the U.S. to get the coronavirus vaccine. ...

  • How a FDNY Firefighter Is Honoring the Memory of 9/11 Through Her Art

    September 12, 2021

    How a FDNY Firefighter Is Honoring the Memory of 9/11 Through Her Art

    September 12, 2021

    As survivors ran from the crumbling Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, first res...

  • How A North Carolina Community Came Together to Fight Environmental Racism

    September 26, 2021

    How A North Carolina Community Came Together to Fight Environmental Racism

    September 26, 2021

    Fighting environmental racism is never easy. The communities often targeted lack...

  • Thousands Fled California’s Caldor Fire. They Lived; But Their Homes Are Gone.

    September 26, 2021

    Thousands Fled California’s Caldor Fire. They Lived; But Their Homes Are Gone.

    September 26, 2021

    Catastrophic weather events are getting worse. As the climate continues to chang...

  • How a Brewery is Battling Gang Violence One Pint at a Time

    September 19, 2021

    How a Brewery is Battling Gang Violence One Pint at a Time

    September 19, 2021

    Something special is brewing at a North Carolina brewery. They’re using beer to ...

  • Finding Refuge for Afghan Refugees in the U.S.

    September 19, 2021

    Finding Refuge for Afghan Refugees in the U.S.

    September 19, 2021

    Last month, U.S. troops evacuated more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan. Of ...

  • How a FDNY Firefighter Is Honoring the Memory of 9/11 Through Her Art

    September 12, 2021

    How a FDNY Firefighter Is Honoring the Memory of 9/11 Through Her Art

    September 12, 2021

    As survivors ran from the crumbling Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, first res...

  • Remembering the Women Who Rushed Into the Towers on 9/11

    September 12, 2021

    Remembering the Women Who Rushed Into the Towers on 9/11

    September 12, 2021

    This weekend marks 20 years since terrorists crashed two planes into the World T...

  • She Was the First to Get the Vaccine in the U.S. Now She’s Burning Out on the Frontlines

    September 12, 2021

    She Was the First to Get the Vaccine in the U.S. Now She’s Burning Out on the Frontlines

    September 12, 2021

    COVID infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to climb as the highly co...

  • Kids Make Up More Than a Third of COVID Cases in Tennessee

    September 5, 2021

    Kids Make Up More Than a Third of COVID Cases in Tennessee

    September 5, 2021

    Tennessee leads the nation in COVID cases per capita, especially among its child...

  • September 25, 2021

    September 26, 2021

    September 25, 2021

    September 26, 2021

  • September 18, 2021

    September 19, 2021

    September 18, 2021

    September 19, 2021

  • September 4, 2021

    September 5, 2021

    September 4, 2021

    September 5, 2021

  • August 28, 2021

    August 29, 2021

    August 28, 2021

    August 29, 2021

  • August 21, 2021

    August 22, 2021

    August 21, 2021

    August 22, 2021

  • August 14, 2021

    August 15, 2021

    August 14, 2021

    August 15, 2021

    This week, a look at the growing tension between the vaccinated and the unvaccin...

  • August 7, 2021

    August 8, 2021

    August 7, 2021

    August 8, 2021

    This week, we share the story of an unlikely friendship between a cop and a man ...

  • July 31, 2021

    August 1, 2021

    July 31, 2021

    August 1, 2021

    This week on Matter of Fact, we visit with the residents of Paradise, California...