The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has informed members of Congress that it will grant the easement needed to complete the Dakota Access pipeline, ending weeks of suspense and months of protests surrounding the hotly contested project.
The federal government increased pressure on the few protesters remaining on Standing Rock Sioux reservation land to clear out by announcing, on Friday, its intention to dispatch Bureau of Indian Affairs agents to remove protesters from the site, the Washington Post reports.
The Army said the approval will "facilitate completion" of the last stretch of pipeline connecting the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to an existing crude oil terminal near Pakota, Illinois.
The decision follows an executive action from President Donald Trump that sought to resume construction on the 1,172-mile oil pipeline despite objections from a Native American tribe living near its path in North Dakota and a halt ordered by former President Barack Obama previous year.
The Standing Rock Sioux sues.
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BIA's announcement comes after the Army Corps of Engineers issued an order to a few hundred protesters at a camp in Cannon Ball, N.D., to get out by February 22, the station reported.
He wrote that the Army would officially grant the easement as soon as Wednesday afternoon, at which point the company building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, would be able to begin construction. Between 2015 and 2016, the company was found to be responsible for 35 pipeline spills that caused a reported $300,000.
Jan Hasselman, attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, suggested it would continue to stop work on the pipeline through the courts. President Donald Trump had issued an executive order to review the project quickly.
"Trump and his administration will be held accountable in court".
The $3.8 billion pipeline, which is being built by Energy Transfer Partners, had been delayed for several months as Native American tribes and climate activists protested its construction.