| BISMARCK, N.D., Sept 15
BISMARCK, N.D., Sept 15 North Dakota Governor
Jack Dalrymple said on Thursday he hopes federal officials will
soon lay out a path for how the Dakota Access Pipeline can
obtain regulatory approval, adding he believes recent delays by
the Obama administration are not an attempt to block the
The remarks in an interview come as more than 7,000
protesters from around the world have descended on the sparsely
populated state to protest the pipeline, amplifying concerns
from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe that it would disrupt nearby
historical Native American sites.
A federal judge on Friday rejected a request from the tribe
to halt the pipeline's construction, saying regulators had
adequately performed archeological reconnaissance. The judge did
not rule on the line's potential environmental effects since
they were not raised by the tribe's lawsuit.
The Obama administration quickly followed the judge's ruling
with an order temporarily blocking construction in a dammed
portion of the Missouri River controlled by the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers, a step that surprised state officials and has put
the pipeline, which would move oil from North Dakota to
Illinois, in jeopardy.
"I am hoping this is not a stonewall tactic," Dalrymple, a
Republican, said in an interview at the state's capitol.
"I can't believe that that's really what they want. They
seem to be talking about the process going forward, and if
that's what the discussion is about, everyone is happy to
The governor said he has been talking all week with the
Department of Justice, Army Corps and other federal officials
about the permit delay.
"I think there will be announcements coming out in the next
few days," he said.
Dalrymple, who leaves office in December, urged the Obama
administration not to conflate review of permits for the Dakota
Access line with a broader goal, announced on Friday, of
overhauling the permitting process for pipelines near Native
"That is really two separate things," he said. Dalrymple
said has not spoken with President Obama about the pipeline, but
added, "maybe I should."
Dalrymple and other state regulators noted the Dakota Access
line has already gone through more than two years of state and
federal regulatory review, that most of it sits on private land
and that it would run 92 feet under the Missouri River's bed.
"There was a stringent regulatory review process here," said
Julie Fedorchak, chair of the North Dakota Public Service
Commission, which regulates pipelines in the state. "There gets
to be a point where you wonder if there's enough review that can
be done to satisfy environmental groups."
Tribal members contend they were not adequately consulted
during the review process, although Dalrymple and Fedorchak said
the tribe did not respond to requests for input. The Army Corps
made similar statements in its legal filings.
The Sioux "had chances to consult and have their issues
addressed, and they chose not to," Fedorchak said.
Yet the tribes and their supporters have successfully fought
back, winning the delay from the Obama administration and
forcing a fresh regulatory review.
On federally controlled land in Cannon Ball, N.D., about an
hour south of the state capitol, tribal members have erected a
camp to protest the pipeline, offering prayers that it does not
Dalrymple, who has not visited the site, sent the National
Guard to patrol the area, saying local officials in the remote
region were stretched thin by providing services to a de facto
"This is a very big test for a small state like ours," said
(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)