The fight over the Dakota Access pipeline is not over yet, despite the Armed Corps of Engineers' denial to approve permits needed to complete the $3.7 billion, 1,172-mile project, maverick Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota told CNBC on Monday.
"When you look at it, we know one thing for sure: When the administration changes, the easement is going to be approved," Heitkamp told "Squawk Box," referring to the legal right pipeline proponents are claiming to justify construction on Native American land.
"I understand the frustration of the protesters, I just think that this fight is not winnable," said the senator, adding that she hopes to continue her work to improve living conditions for Native American communities.
Heitkamp has advocated for a more positive approach on U.S. energy policy while in the Senate, pushing for heightened domestic production and North American energy independence.
"We spent a lot of time talking about economic development, talking about energy, talking about regulation and what we need to do there, so it really was a very substantive discussion without a lot of details on positions in the Cabinet," she said.
Heitkamp said the two spoke a lot about jobs and highlighted Trump's "myopic focus on how he's going to get American workers back into the workplace [and] provide more economic security."