The Latest: Army tells judge pipeline study should proceed

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Posted: Jan 18, 2017 2:18 PM
The Latest: Army tells judge pipeline study should proceed

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Latest on disputes over the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

The Army says the launch of a full environmental study of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline's disputed crossing under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota won't impact a related court battle.

The Army published a notice in the Federal Register on Wednesday of its intent to further study the Lake Oahe crossing.

Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners wants U.S. District Judge James Boasberg (BOHZ'-burg) to block the study from moving forward until he rules on a related dispute. ETP maintains it already has the necessary permission for the crossing; the Army says it doesn't.

The Army says in court documents that the Federal Register notice could be withdrawn if Boasberg were to eventually rule ETP has permission. Army attorneys argue that Boasberg should let the study move forward for now.

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12 p.m.

The Standing Rock Sioux says a full environmental study of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline's disputed crossing of a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota is "yet another small victory on the path to justice."

The Army published a notice in the Federal Register on Wednesday of its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement on the Lake Oahe crossing. A judge could still grant a request from pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners to block the study from moving forward.

The tribe gets its drinking water from the reservoir and worries the four-state pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois could pollute the water if there's a leak. ETP says the pipeline is safe.

The tribe issued a statement saying the environmental study is "exactly what we called for."

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8:30 a.m.

The number of arrests related to protests over construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota has surpassed 600.

The Morton County Sheriff's Office says 16 people were arrested Monday and Tuesday in confrontations with police near the protesters' main encampment near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. That pushed the number of arrests since August to 603.

The tribe and its supporters say the $3.8 billion pipeline to carry North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois threatens drinking water and cultural sites. Pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners disputes that.

The pipeline is nearly complete except for a stretch beneath a Missouri River reservoir that's the tribe's water source. Whether ETP has permission to lay pipe under Lake Oahe is tied up in the courts.

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7:50 a.m.

The Army says it's planning to study the potential environmental impact of routing the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline under the Missouri River in North Dakota, although a judge could stall the study.

The Army published a notice in the Federal Register Wednesday of its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement on the Lake Oahe crossing.

The Army won't allow developer Energy Transfer Partners to resume the pipeline's construction while the study is ongoing. A study could take up to two years.

ETP has asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg (BOHZ'-burg) to block the study until he rules on whether ETP already has the necessary permission for construction from the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps says it doesn't.

Boasberg will consider ETP's request during a Wednesday afternoon hearing.