Comments from President-elect Donald Trump, though not definitive, are rather disconcerting to the thousands of protesters and others trying to stop completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says he would welcome a meeting with Trump.

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A growing legion of demonstrators, their ranks swelled by veterans who had traveled to the massive protest site on the now-frigid plains of North Dakota, as well as environmentalists and others across the country, cheered upon getting word last week that a decision by the Army Corps of Engineers would block completion of the pipeline -- at least for now.

Those seeking to stop completion of the pipeline, including members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who say their source of drinking water would be threatened by the project, were further buoyed when a federal judge on Friday turned down a request by the pipeline company -- Energy Transfer Partners -- to force the Army to grant the easement for the final stretch of the nearly 1,200 mile pipeline.

President-elect Trump's comments worry oppenents of of Dakota Access Pipeline. - aol.com
President-elect Trump's comments worry oppenents of of Dakota Access Pipeline. - aol.com

Instead, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ordered the company and the U.S. Justice Department to file motions by Jan. 31, an obvious indication that he would give further consideration to the matter.

But what Trump has had to say about the pipeline, as well as what he isn’t saying, are clues as to what position he will take on the project once he’s sworn in as president.

Trump expects resolution before he takes office

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Trump said he expected the matter to be settled before he was inaugurated in January, but if it isn’t, he said he would have it “solved” once he took office.

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When asked to clarify, specifically if he would allow the easement on the remaining stretch of the pipeline, Trump responded, “I’m not saying anything.”

Despite his refusal to commit further on the matter during the interview, Trump has indicated in the past that he’s for completing the project.

Also, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a spokesman for the incoming administration says that Trump is in favor of finishing the pipeline. And making opponents of the project even more worried are some of Trump’s choices for his cabinet -- selections that are clearly supportive of big oil.

On Tuesday morning Trump announced his choice for Secretary of State was Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil. And, the president-elect has announced his selection to head the Department of Energy would be Texas Governor Rick Perry.

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Perry infamously said in a presidential debate in 2011 that he would eliminate three federal departments, but couldn’t remember the third. Though he said later it was the Energy Department, Perry has long been considered pro-oil.

When the Army announced on Dec. 5 it was denying the easement to Energy Transfer Partners it said that alternate routes for the project must be considered, and an Environmental Impact Statement, with public review and analysis, would have to be completed before the work on finishing the pipeline could be completed. Such reviews can delay projects by months or even years, while driving up the cost as well.

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Standing Rock Sioux chairman urges supporters to be 'attentive'

In an update posted on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's website, Chairman David Archambault is urging supporters to be "attentive" to the statement proceedings so that, in his words, the "process works for us instead of against us." He also says he would "welcome" a meeting with Trump and his Interior nominee, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

"Nevertheless, it is imperative that we push through as much as we can under the current administration," Archambault said in the update. "We cannot afford to lose momentum and continue to be on edge due to the Dakota Access presence at the drill pad."

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