(CNSNews.com) - Van Jones, a CNN commentator and former adviser to President Obama, on Monday compared the pipeline protest in Cannon Ball, North Dakota to the civil rights movement of the 1960s:
"This feels like Selma! It feels like Montgomery! It feels like a time when a group that nobody paid attention to, black folks in the South, stood up and the world stood with them, so it's a very powerful, emotional moment, I think, for the tribal communities," Jones told CNN's "New Day."
Bowing to pressure from thousands of persistent and sometimes unruly protesters, the Obama administration on Sunday instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to find another route for the Dakota Access pipeline project, which had all the necessary permits to build the pipline beneath a Missouri River reservoir.
The Standing Rock Sioux and other protesters say the $3.8 billion pipeline threatens the tribe's drinking water and cultural sites.
Jones said the United States has a history of violating treaties with "the first Americans," and in this case, it's not only the tribe that is affected -- it's also people downriver from the pipeline," he said.
"At the end of the day, pipes leaks. That's why we have these people called plumbers," Jones said.
The pipeline developer, Energy Transfer Partners, says the Corps' decision is politically motivated: The White House’s directive today to the Corps for further delay is just the latest in a series of overt and transparent political actions by an administration which has abandoned the rule of law in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency."
The company says it is "fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion...without any additional rerouting."
The segment under the river is the final piece of the 1,200-mile pipeline, which will carry North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois.
(The Associated Press contributed some of the information in this report.)