Donald Trump has vowed to protect the Peabble Mine, an oil-rich coal-rich area off the coast of Hawaii, as he continues to push for the $3.8 billion project.
“We’re not stopping it, we’re going to protect it,” Trump told reporters in a phone call Sunday.
“We have the people that are going to do the job and we’re not going to stop.”
Trump, who is scheduled to meet with the local government on Monday, has repeatedly said he will not allow the project to move forward without the approval of Hawaii Gov.
Trump has been criticized for his lack of cooperation in getting the project off the ground, but his office defended the move as a necessity.
“He has always maintained that he would continue to fight to protect Peabbles’ unique environment and the jobs that it creates, including in this case,” spokeswoman Kristy Campbell told the AP in a statement.
Trump’s stance has made him a lightning rod in a race that has drawn millions of dollars in donations and support for the project.
The state of Hawaii has not approved the coal export from the Peobble mine, which is being built with federal money.
Trump, a Republican, has called for the coal industry to pay $7 billion to the federal government in order to avoid the federal tax.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.