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Dakota Access

Tim Kaine says a Dakota Access reroute would be “the right thing to do.”

In an interview with Fusion’s Alicia Menendez, the vice presidential candidate voiced approval of the Obama administration’s decision to explore other routes for the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline.

“So if it’s changed once — if it’s an important enough project, you ought to be able to find a route that works,” Kaine said.

As Kaine noted, an earlier proposal saw the pipeline cross the Missouri River above Bismarck, North Dakota. That route was scrapped after an environmental review found it posed a threat to the water supply of the city, which is over 90 percent white. Along its current route, the pipeline would cross the Missouri (the Standing Rock Sioux’s primary water source) a half mile from the reservation and overrun sacred burial sites.

Though far from robust, Kaine’s support marks one of the first times the Clinton camp has made any mention of Dakota Access, despite mounting pressure from environmentalists and activists. Meanwhile in North Dakota, the Sioux and their allies face a police force in riot gear as construction on the pipeline nears the river.

Follow Grist’s ongoing coverage of Dakota Access here.