North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has been a longtime supporter of the Dakota Access pipeline and she’s managed to survive an explosion of political drama within her state because of it.
In the past eight months, a mass protest by more than 1,000 Native American and environmental activists blocked construction of the nearly completed pipeline for months. Almost 600 people were arrested last fall by local law enforcement near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in the southern part of the state.
The Trump administration’s decision on Tuesday to grant the final permit for the pipeline signaled an end of the regulatory phase of the conflict, but not the legal or political drama surrounding energy infrastructure across the nation.
“Dakota Access is pretty much built, but I also imagine there will be continued litigation,” Heitkamp said during a Capitol Hill interview with RealClearEnergy for the “First 100 Days” podcast. “But given that the judge in the past has refused to issue a temporary restraining order, I think the likelihood of stopping Dakota Access isn’t that great.”
Heitkamp was elected to the Senate in 2012 after nearly two decades as a statewide elected official, first as tax commissioner and later as a two-term attorney general. The conflagration over energy infrastructure in North Dakota has been part of a…