“Today, Chairman Archambault and I met to discuss the Dakota Access Pipeline project and the ongoing protests in the area of construction. These protests have been very difficult for North Dakotans who live and work in the region, particularly for farmers and ranchers. They have also disrupted the lives of people who live and work in surrounding communities, and created great difficulties as well for state and local law enforcement officers, who have been very professional and dedicated to maintaining public safety.
“There has always been a good relationship between tribal and nontribal members in North Dakota. That relationship has been strained, however, by protesters who have come from around the country with a variety of agendas, and who have been willing to engage in violence and break the law.
“As a result, Chairman Archambault should work with other state leaders to get people to leave the illegal campsite on Army Corps of Engineers land. He should also join with us to call on the Obama administration to provide federal law enforcement personnel and resources to work with our state and local law enforcement professionals to ensure that any future protests are peaceful and within the law.
“The Dakota Access Pipeline can be built safely, protecting the tribe and all other downstream interests in accordance with the law and all applicable regulations. If the tribe still opposes the project, their concerns should be addressed through the court system, rather than through protests that impede or interfere with the lawful construction of the project and the rights of people who live in the area to get to work or attend school.
“We must all follow the rule of law for the safety of everyone and to protect everyone’s rights. Our nation must be able to build new energy infrastructure, or we will be forced to rely on existing infrastructure, which is wearing out, making it less safe and less environmentally sound. We can work together to improve the permitting process going forward. As fellow North Dakotans – both native and non-native – we need to work together to restore our long-standing good relationship.”