President Obama Issues Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

President Obama was asked about the Dakota Access Pipeline and its ongoing protest in a NowThis interview yesterday.

The President called for law enforcement to show restraint and for protesters to remain peaceful over the next few weeks as his administration “let it play out and determine whether or not this can be resolved in a way that is properly attentive to the traditions of the First Americans.”

 “Letting it play out” has only brought violence and civil unrest to North Dakota since the Executive Branch through the Department of the Interior, Department of Justice and the Department of the Army called for a closer review of the already fully permitted Dakota Access Pipeline (North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

It’s unfortunate that the President fails to recognize the incredible restraint showed by law enforcement to this point. Protesters have held largely unpeaceful gatherings which in recent days have culminated in the attempted murder charge of a law enforcement officer and the construction and burning of barricades and bridges along public highways following multiple lawful requests for protesters to withdraw from illegally occupied private property.

Already over 400 individuals have been arrested for charges including arson, trespassing, assault, and attempted murder. There is nothing peaceful about these actions, nor have the protests of the last few months remained peaceful.

Throughout these protests, the Department of Justice has refused assistance to local law enforcement who have remained committed to protecting public safety and private property, as well as enforcing the ruling of two United States Federal Courts: the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Both courts agreed that construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline was lawfully permitted by both the state and federal governments and should be allowed to continue.

It’s time to stop playing politics with this volatile situation. President Obama and his Administration should provide resources for members of law enforcement to enforce the laws in the State of North Dakota and respect the federal process that was adhered to throughout the permitting process.