U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grants easement to major pipeline project

A motorist checks the condition of an exit ramp before attempting to drive out of the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. An overnight storm brought several inches of snow, winds gusting to 50 mph and temperatures that felt as cold as 10 degrees below zero. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will grant the final easement to finish construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). “The Department of the Army announced today that it has completed a presidential-directed review of the remaining easement request for the Dakota Access pipeline, and has notified Congress that it intends to grant an easement,” they say in a statement released Tuesday.

Most of the pipeline is already built; the final section of the 1100+ mile pipeline runs under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. That section has been intensely contested by thousands of protesters. In the wake of persistent protests, police used water cannons on occupiers in below-freezing temperatures and introduced legislation to protect drivers who run over protesters with their cars (North Dakota House Bill 1203).

RELATED: Standing Rock protesters celebrate major victory as U.S. Army halts Dakota pipeline project

The easement grants Energy Transfer Partners permission to construct the remainder of the $3.8 billion pipeline under private property. The Standing Rock Tribe, whose reservation abuts the pipeline’s construction, have pledged to fight the easement in court. The Dakota Access pipeline was originally slated to run close to the state capital of Bismarck, but was judged by the Army Corps of Engineers be too dangerous to local water supplies in an area of “higher consequence,” according to the Bismarck Tribune.

Donald Trump made completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline key parts of his campaign. He signed an executive order to push the projects shortly after taking office. After owning between $500,000 and $1 million in stock in Energy Transfer Partners, spokeswoman Hope Hicks claims he has sold all shares in the company. Trump also owned between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66, according to 2016 disclosure forms, which Hicks did not address.

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