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...

    Watch now
  • April 21, 2018

    April 28, 2018

    April 21, 2018

    April 28, 2018

    This weekend on Matter of Fact, Soledad O'Brien sits down with former prosecutor Peter Zei...

    Watch now
  • American Mayors Looking for Lead on Infrastructure

    June 24, 2017

    American Mayors Looking for Lead on Infrastructure

    June 24, 2017

    This weekend, hundreds of America’s mayors gather in Miami, Florida for a bipartisan confe...

    Watch now
  • Expert: Paris Accord Decision Could Leave U.S. Economy Behind

    June 3, 2017

    Expert: Paris Accord Decision Could Leave U.S. Economy Behind

    June 3, 2017

    President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement this week, sparking both ...

    Watch now
  • Earthships in Puerto Rico

    May 22, 2018

    Earthships in Puerto Rico

    May 22, 2018

    Lauralina Melendez and Mario Atunez lost their home when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. ...

    Watch now
  • Gary Mayor: Trump Administration Policies Could Threaten Progress

    May 6, 2017

    Gary Mayor: Trump Administration Policies Could Threaten Progress

    May 6, 2017

    Gary, Indiana was once a thriving steel town known as the “Magic City.” Since the consolid...

    Watch now
  • Putting Coal Miners Back to Work – Through Solar Power

    April 29, 2017

    Putting Coal Miners Back to Work – Through Solar Power

    April 29, 2017

    Coal mining is on the decline in the United States, leaving those who relied on the indust...

    Watch now
  • Extra: Oren Cass on Environmental Policy under President Trump

    January 21, 2017

    Extra: Oren Cass on Environmental Policy under President Trump

    January 21, 2017

    Watch now

Latest

  • 50 Lawns Across 50 States

    June 16, 2018

    50 Lawns Across 50 States

    June 16, 2018

    Rodney Smith, Jr. is a man on a mission. He’s in the middle of his second nation...

    Watch now
  • Meet the African-American Woman in Charge of Preserving the Confederacy

    June 16, 2018

    Meet the African-American Woman in Charge of Preserving the Confederacy

    June 16, 2018

    Is everything you know about the Civil War wrong? According to Christy Coleman, ...

    Watch now
  • GOP Rep. Reed: Repealing the ACA is “Politically Unwise”

    June 16, 2018

    GOP Rep. Reed: Repealing the ACA is “Politically Unwise”

    June 16, 2018

    A multi-state court battle could repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as O...

    Watch now
  • Rep. Jayapal: Stop Using Immigrants as A “Political Football”

    June 16, 2018

    Rep. Jayapal: Stop Using Immigrants as A “Political Football”

    June 16, 2018

    The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on two competing immigration bi...

    Watch now
  • Can Congress Get a “Refund” on Paying for Children’s Healthcare?

    June 9, 2018

    Can Congress Get a “Refund” on Paying for Children’s Healthcare?

    June 9, 2018

    President Donald Trump has been asking Congress to pass a rescission. But what d...

    Watch now
  • Strategists: Impeachment Message Won’t Work with Voters

    June 9, 2018

    Strategists: Impeachment Message Won’t Work with Voters

    June 9, 2018

    Democrats need to add two seats in the Senate and 23 seats in the House to take ...

    Watch now
  • In Her Own Words: White Privilege Made My Recovery Possible

    June 9, 2018

    In Her Own Words: White Privilege Made My Recovery Possible

    June 9, 2018

    She used to struggle addiction. Last month, she graduated from an Ivy League uni...

    Watch now
  • Rural Counties Creating Gun Sanctuaries in Response to Gun Reform, Immigrants

    June 9, 2018

    Rural Counties Creating Gun Sanctuaries in Response to Gun Reform, Immigrants

    June 9, 2018

    Several counties in rural Illinois are passing “gun sanctuary” measures, saying ...

    Watch now
  • 50 Lawns Across 50 States

    June 16, 2018

    50 Lawns Across 50 States

    June 16, 2018

    Rodney Smith, Jr. is a man on a mission. He’s in the middle of his second nation...

    Watch now
  • Meet the African-American Woman in Charge of Preserving the Confederacy

    June 16, 2018

    Meet the African-American Woman in Charge of Preserving the Confederacy

    June 16, 2018

    Is everything you know about the Civil War wrong? According to Christy Coleman, ...

    Watch now
  • Can Congress Get a “Refund” on Paying for Children’s Healthcare?

    June 9, 2018

    Can Congress Get a “Refund” on Paying for Children’s Healthcare?

    June 9, 2018

    President Donald Trump has been asking Congress to pass a rescission. But what d...

    Watch now
  • In Her Own Words: White Privilege Made My Recovery Possible

    June 9, 2018

    In Her Own Words: White Privilege Made My Recovery Possible

    June 9, 2018

    She used to struggle addiction. Last month, she graduated from an Ivy League uni...

    Watch now
  • Does Alabama Have a Modern-Day Poll Tax?

    June 2, 2018

    Does Alabama Have a Modern-Day Poll Tax?

    June 2, 2018

    About a quarter million of Alabama’s 5 million residents are unable to vote in T...

    Watch now
  • Could We See the Nation’s First Black Woman Governor?

    May 26, 2018

    Could We See the Nation’s First Black Woman Governor?

    May 26, 2018

    Stacey Abrams made history this week as the first African-American woman to beco...

    Watch now
  • UMSL Student Voter Turnout Highest In the Nation

    May 8, 2018

    UMSL Student Voter Turnout Highest In the Nation

    May 8, 2018

    At the University of Missouri at St. Louis, students take civic engagement...

    Watch now
  • Schools Designed with Possible Shootings in Mind

    May 5, 2018

    Schools Designed with Possible Shootings in Mind

    May 5, 2018

    Schools are refocusing efforts to keep potential mass shooters in mind as they d...

    Watch now
  • June 9, 2018

    June 16, 2018

    June 9, 2018

    June 16, 2018

    This weekend, is the so-called blue wave now the blue ripple? Soledad O’Bri...

    Watch now
  • June 2, 2018

    June 9, 2018

    June 2, 2018

    June 9, 2018

    This week on Matter of Fact, Soledad O'Brien takes a look at the new estimates t...

    Watch now
  • May 26, 2018

    June 2, 2018

    May 26, 2018

    June 2, 2018

    This weekend, Soledad O'Brien takes a look at what it means to assimilate in Ame...

    Watch now
  • May 19, 2018

    May 26, 2018

    May 19, 2018

    May 26, 2018

    This weekend, Soledad O'Brien sits down with Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) who is part o...

    Watch now
  • May 12, 2018

    May 19, 2018

    May 12, 2018

    May 19, 2018

    This week on Matter of Fact, lawmakers in Congress are making a renewed push to ...

    Watch now
  • May 5, 2018

    May 12, 2018

    May 5, 2018

    May 12, 2018

    This weekend on Matter of Fact, Soledad O'Brien sits down with maternal hea...

    Watch now
  • April 28, 2018

    May 5, 2018

    April 28, 2018

    May 5, 2018

    This week on Matter of Fact, Soledad O'Brien goes to St. Louis to hear the story...

    Watch now
  • April 21, 2018

    April 28, 2018

    April 21, 2018

    April 28, 2018

    This weekend on Matter of Fact, Soledad O'Brien sits down with former prosecutor...

    Watch now