News / Winnipeg

Standing Rock protests aren't over, says Winnipeg Indigenous activist

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated Trump’s support for energy projects on Monday, calling efforts like the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline “a big priority.”

Dozens of demonstrators protesting the Standing Rock pipeline close the intersection at Portage Ave and Main street in Winnipeg Manitoba, November 15, 2016.

Lyle Stafford/For Metro

Dozens of demonstrators protesting the Standing Rock pipeline close the intersection at Portage Ave and Main street in Winnipeg Manitoba, November 15, 2016.

The fight in Standing Rock is likely far from over, as the White House hinted at plans to overturn the rejection of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Monday. 

Donald Trump’s press secretary reiterated the president’s support for energy projects, calling pipelines like Dakota Access “a big priority.”

However, Sean Spicer didn’t say whether Trump would seek to reverse the Army's decision to explore alternate routes for the $3.8-billion project to move North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters say the pipeline threatens drinking water and Native American cultural sites. Developer Energy Transfer Partners — which Trump once owned stock in — disputes that.

Standing Rock has faded from headlines since Dec. 4, when former president Barack Obama rejected the pipeline permit.

But a Winnipeg indigenous activist, who has made two trips south of the border to support the self-declared “water protectors” protesting the pipeline, said he expects protests will ramp up again following Monday’s news.

“We can’t underestimate what Donald Trump is capable of,” he told Metro. “We certainly cannot underestimate the power of a newly galvanized social movement for climate justice and indigenous rights, so we absolutely will see an escalation, not just in Standing Rock but I think across the nation.”

The pipeline is nearly complete but stalled while the Army Corps of Engineers does a full environmental study before deciding whether to allow it to cross the Missouri River in North Dakota.

– With files from The Associated Press

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