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Trump breaks with Obama on controversial pipeline
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WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s transition team said Monday the president-elect backs the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, breaking with the Obama Administration’s rejection of an easement for the controversial project.

“With regard to the Dakota Access Pipeline, that’s something that we support construction of and we’ll review the full situation when we’re in the White House to make appropriate determination at that time,” said Trump spokesman Jason Miller.

Celebrations broke out in North Dakota Sunday when the Army Corps of Engineers denied approvalfor the 1,172-mile pipeline easement.

The project would run from the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to existing crude oil pipelines in Pakota, Illinois, passing through South Dakota and Iowa along the way.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe had filed a lawsuit against the US Army Corps of Engineers July 27, 2016, alleging the federal government ignored their concerns when giving the oil pipeline final permits for construction.

The tribe argues the pipeline would destroy sacred tribal sites, cultural landmarks and pose environmental risks to their drinking water supply of the Missouri River. Environmental activists and progressive leaders like Sen. Bernie Sanders have joined in the fight against the project.

But backers believe the celebration will be short lived since a Trump Administration can overturn the decision.

“I’m encouraged we will restore law and order next month when we get a president who will not thumb his nose at the rule of law,” said North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer.

Another major pipeline backer, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, agreed.

“The Obama administration’s refusal to issue an easement … passes the decision off to the next administration, which has already indicated it will approve the easement, and in the meantime perpetuates a difficult situation for North Dakotans,” Hoeven said.

Even before the ruling, Trump’s transition team indicated Thursday the New York billionaire will go to bat for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The companies behind the pipeline — Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners – blasted the Army Corps of Engineers for making a “political decision” and remain fully committed to completing the project.

“For more than three years now, Dakota Access Pipeline has done nothing but play by the rules,” the statement read. “…The White House’s directive … to the Corps for further delay is just the latest in a series of overt and transparent political actions by an Administration which has abandoned the rule of law in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency.”

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