CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) — The Latest on the Dakota Access oil pipeline. (all times local):
Authorities this week cleared the last holdouts from a Dakota Access pipeline protest camp on federal land in North Dakota, but it will be a while before the region returns to normal.
There’s tons of debris to be cleared. There’s a highway bridge that remains closed. Pipeline drilling continues. There’s a court battle lingering. And hundreds of protesters remain in the area.
Many in the closed camp have gone to other camps nearby on the Standing Rock Reservation. But the status of those camps is unclear.
Protest leader Joye Braun says there’s a dispute over whether two camps are on private land or tribal land. And people haven’t been able to get into another camp established on private land by the Cheyenne River Sioux because of a Bureau of Indian Affairs roadblock.
The Cheyenne River Sioux tribe has joined the Standing Rock Sioux in asking a federal judge to revoke permission for the Dakota Access pipeline to be built under the Missouri River in North Dakota.
The tribes say the $3.8 billion oil pipeline threatens their drinking water, cultural sites and ability to practice their religion, which depends on pure water. Developer Energy Transfer Partners rejects those claims, and expects to finish work under the river quickly, perhaps in two weeks.
Earlier this month, the Standing Rock Sioux asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to overturn permission for the river crossing that the pro-energy Trump administration granted to ETP. The Cheyenne River tribe filed a similar request on Wednesday.
The Cheyenne River Sioux requested an injunction to stop the construction earlier this month.
ETP hasn’t yet responded to the motions.
The Texas-based company building the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline says oil could be flowing in less than two weeks.
Energy Transfer Partners says in court documents that it has finished drilling under Lake Oahe in North Dakota and will soon be laying pipe under the Missouri River reservoir.
It’s the last stretch of the 1,200-mile pipeline to move North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. ETP got permission for the final piece of construction last month from the pro-energy Trump administration, though American Indian tribes continue fighting the project in court.
ETP says in court documents filed this week that the pipeline “will be complete and ready to flow oil” between March 6 and April 1.
Dozens of people have been arrested as authorities in North Dakota cleared a protest camp where opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline had gathered for the better part of a year.
About 220 officers and 18 National Guardsmen methodically searched protester tents and other temporary homes for more than three hours on Thursday. Authorities say 46 people were taken into custody, including a group of military veterans who had to be carried out.
The arrests occurred a day after the Army Corps of Engineers ordered protesters to clear the camp by a 2 p.m. Wednesday deadline.
Native Americans who oppose the $3.8 billion pipeline set up camp last April near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation the shed light on their concerns about the project that would carry oil through the Dakotas and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.
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