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The United State Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday said in a court filing it intends to grant an easement needed to complete the disputed Dakota Access pipeline.
This comes after President Donald Trump last month signed a presidential memo that asked the Army to expedite the process and move forward the project.
The Corps also said it would terminate its plans to prepare an environmental impact statement.
In December, the Corps said it would deny Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners the easement it needs to complete the final stretch of the $3.7 billion pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. United States Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy said the best path forward was to explore alternative routes for the pipeline through an environmental review.
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes, as well as environmentalists from around the country, have fought the pipeline project on the grounds that it crosses beneath a lake that provides drinking water to native Americans. They say the route beneath Lake Oahe puts the water source in jeopardy and would destroy sacred land.
The Standing Rock Sioux vowed to sue if the Corps suspends the environmental review that Darcy announced.
The Standing Rock campaign has drawn thousands of protesters to a number of camps in the Cannon Ball area at times. The numbers have dwindled to about 300 in recent weeks due to severe winter weather.