Authorities to conditionally move from bridge near protest

  • Authorities to conditionally move from bridge near protest

Authorities to conditionally move from bridge near protest

Flags flap in the wind on the main thoroughfare of Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, Dec. 3, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

A child climbs a snowy hill near the Oceti Sakowin camp where demonstrators have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

Native American groups and environmental activists have been protesting since summer to block construction of the 1,172-mile pipeline that is slated to cut across four states and transport crude oil from North Dakota's oil fields to refinery markets in IL.

North Dakota's leaders criticized the decision, with Gov. Jack Dalrymple calling it a "serious mistake" that "prolongs the risky situation" of having several hundred protesters who are camped out on federal land during cold, wintry weather.

North Dakota Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer says that the Army Corps' decision not to grant an easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline is "a very chilling signal" for the future of infrastructure in the U.S.

"Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it's clear that there's more work to do", Darcy said.

The pipeline is largely complete except for a short segment that is planned to pass beneath a Missouri River reservoir, and Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners says it is unwilling to reroute the project.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch emphasized in a statement Friday that the Justice Department's top priority is safety.

U.S. Secretary for the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement that the Corps' "thoughtful approach. ensures that there will be an in-depth evaluation of alternative routes for the pipeline and a closer look at potential impacts".

Wes Clark Jr. spoke of that agreement, saying the National Guard and law enforcement have armored vehicles and are armed.

State authorities have said they talked with the veterans group and will move away Sunday afternoon from the Blackwater Bridge that's north of the Oceti Sakowin camp on federal land if protesters agree to certain conditions. "Mr. Clark assured us that there was no intent to engage law enforcement or move past the south side of the Backwater Bridge". Instead, he told the veterans, "If you see someone who needs help, help them out".

Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney again encouraged protesters to heed both the governor's order and the federal government's request to leave the land. "We want this to de-escalate".

Sen. John Hoeven, meanwhile was more critical and said Lynch is not working with the North Dakota delegation to address violent protests in Morton County as she claimed.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a statement that the Corps' decision "is a serious mistake", "prolongs the serious problems" that law enforcement faces and "prolongs the unsafe situation" of people camping in cold, snowy conditions.

Also, the Bismarck Tribune reported that Dalrymple and Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman Dave Archambault have agreed to meet in person to discuss the pipeline protests. A date for that meeting hasn't been set. Federal, state and local authorities say they won't forcibly remove the protesters. He flew, then met up with other veterans and rode the final leg of the trip from Bismarck in the back of a pickup truck.

She also wrote in an internal memo to staff in September that "multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route", suggesting that the construction of the pipeline would not affect Native Americans who live in the area where it is being built.

Art Woodson is a disabled Gulf War veteran who served in the Army and drove to the main protest encampment from North Dakota with two others - a 17-hour nonstop drive.

Hulse said a 90-year-old man is among the veterans who have arrived at Standing Rock.

"All law enforcement personnel who report for duty to the Morton County Sheriff's Department are now from North Dakota agencies and they are more than prepared for our North Dakota winters", Keller said.