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
  • An Evangelical for Climate Science: We Need to Talk About It More

    October 13, 2018

    An Evangelical for Climate Science: We Need to Talk About It More

    October 13, 2018

    From Florence to Michael, it’s already been a deadly hurricane season and it’s expected to...

    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
  • Asbestos-Cancer Survivor: EPA Changes are “Unconscionable”

    September 1, 2018

    Asbestos-Cancer Survivor: EPA Changes are “Unconscionable”

    September 1, 2018

    Heather Von St. James was 36 years old and had just given birth to her only daughter when ...

    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

Latest

  • Voters Want Bipartisanship but Politicians Keep Getting More Partisan

    October 13, 2018

    Voters Want Bipartisanship but Politicians Keep Getting More Partisan

    October 13, 2018

    Voters head to the polls in less than a month for the midterm election. But when...

  • Would You Drive 150 Miles to Vote? How Laws Keep Native Americans From Voting

    October 13, 2018

    Would You Drive 150 Miles to Vote? How Laws Keep Native Americans From Voting

    October 13, 2018

    Native Americans have some of the lowest voter turnout of any racial or ethnic g...

  • An Evangelical for Climate Science: We Need to Talk About It More

    October 13, 2018

    An Evangelical for Climate Science: We Need to Talk About It More

    October 13, 2018

    From Florence to Michael, it’s already been a deadly hurricane season and it’s e...

  • N.C. Housing Expert: None of Us Predicted Florence’s Damage

    October 6, 2018

    N.C. Housing Expert: None of Us Predicted Florence’s Damage

    October 6, 2018

    Hurricane Florence made landfall last month with winds topping 100 miles per hou...

  • Americans in Mexico to Follow Undocumented Spouses

    October 6, 2018

    Americans in Mexico to Follow Undocumented Spouses

    October 6, 2018

    More and more Americans are leaving the United States to live in Mexico. They’re...

  • Breaking Down Racial Myths About Pain, Sexual Violence

    October 6, 2018

    Breaking Down Racial Myths About Pain, Sexual Violence

    October 6, 2018

    Okwui Okpokwasilli is a “genius”. She’s been awarded one of the MacArthur Founda...

  • Social media is helping Latinas speak out on sexual harassment

    September 29, 2018

    Social media is helping Latinas speak out on sexual harassment

    September 29, 2018

    On social media, victims have been using the hash tags "me too" and "why i didn'...

  • Garry Trudeau talks Doonesbury in the time of Trump #Sad

    September 29, 2018

    Garry Trudeau talks Doonesbury in the time of Trump #Sad

    September 29, 2018

    Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau has a new book out, #Sad about creating his Pul...

  • Americans in Mexico to Follow Undocumented Spouses

    October 6, 2018

    Americans in Mexico to Follow Undocumented Spouses

    October 6, 2018

    More and more Americans are leaving the United States to live in Mexico. They’re...

  • Company Covers Cost Of Rehab For Applicants And Employees

    September 22, 2018

    Company Covers Cost Of Rehab For Applicants And Employees

    September 22, 2018

    Failed drug screens aren’t just a problem for potential employees, but also the ...

  • Ready to Say “Adios” to Expensive Housing?

    September 15, 2018

    Ready to Say “Adios” to Expensive Housing?

    September 15, 2018

    Plus, from California to Maryland, many Americans are struggling with surging ho...

  • Is Trump’s Trade War Crippling Family Dairy Farms?

    September 8, 2018

    Is Trump’s Trade War Crippling Family Dairy Farms?

    September 8, 2018

    American dairy farms are struggling. For the last two decades, falling milk pric...

  • Improving Grades with Free Lunch for All

    September 1, 2018

    Improving Grades with Free Lunch for All

    September 1, 2018

    Nearly 13 million American children don’t know where they’ll get their next meal...

  • Holocaust Deniers Tried to Exploit His Photo. Now He is Fighting Back.

    August 25, 2018

    Holocaust Deniers Tried to Exploit His Photo. Now He is Fighting Back.

    August 25, 2018

    Michael Bornstein was liberated from Auschwitz at four years old. He kept silent...

  • Civil War Museum CEO: “This War Is Not As Simple As People Would Like to Make It”

    August 18, 2018

    Civil War Museum CEO: “This War Is Not As Simple As People Would Like to Make It”

    August 18, 2018

    Richmond, Virginia, once the capital of the Confederate South, is still struggli...

  • Scoot Over! There’s New Ride in Town

    August 11, 2018

    Scoot Over! There’s New Ride in Town

    August 11, 2018

    Looking for a new ride? There’s ANOTHER app for that! Revel Transit in New York ...

  • October 6, 2018

    October 13, 2018

    October 6, 2018

    October 13, 2018

    After the destruction of Hurricane Florence across the Southeast, the housing cr...

  • September 29, 2018

    October 6, 2018

    September 29, 2018

    October 6, 2018

    This week Soledad O'Brien talks historic midterm wins with Congressional nominee...

  • September 15, 2018

    September 23, 2018

    September 15, 2018

    September 23, 2018

    This weekend on Matter of Fact, is President Trump testing the boundaries of his...

  • September 8, 2018

    September 15, 2018

    September 8, 2018

    September 15, 2018

    This weekend on Matter of Fact, the use of artificial intelligence is booming.&n...

  • September 1, 2018

    September 8, 2018

    September 1, 2018

    September 8, 2018

    This week on Matter of Fact, is asbestos making a comeback in America? Soledad O...

  • August 25, 2018

    September 1, 2018

    August 25, 2018

    September 1, 2018

    This weekend on Matter of Fact, Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor of pediatrics ...

  • August 18, 2018

    August 31, 2018

    August 18, 2018

    August 31, 2018

    This weekend on Matter of Fact, Soledad O'Brien sits down with Sen. Cardin (D-MD...

  • August 11, 2018

    August 18, 2018

    August 11, 2018

    August 18, 2018

    This weekend, Soledad O'Brien sits down with economist Nell Abernathy to discuss...