The Latest: Tribal leader says pipeline battle will continue

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Posted: Mar 07, 2017 1:35 PM
The Latest: Tribal leader says pipeline battle will continue

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Latest on the Dakota Access oil pipeline (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

The leader of the American Indian tribe leading the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline says a federal judge's decision allowing the completion of construction isn't the end of the battle.

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault says the decision is disappointing but not surprising. And he says the bigger legal battle lies ahead.

Archambault says the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River tribes will continue challenging the federal government's permission for pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners to drill under Lake Oahe. The Missouri River reservoir is the last piece of construction on the pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois, and also the source of both tribes' water.

Archambault says the tribes will push for the government to do more environmental study and to recognize the tribes' treaty rights to clean water.

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11:30 a.m.

A federal judge has declined to temporarily stop construction of the final section of the Dakota Access pipeline.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg's decision came Tuesday, a week after he held a Feb. 28 hearing to consider the matter. It means the pipeline could be operating this month.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux asked Boasberg to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw permission for Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners to lay pipe under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The stretch under the Missouri River reservoir is the last piece of construction for the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois.

Boasberg's ruling isn't the end of the court battle, as no final decision has been made on the merits of the tribes' claims that the pipeline threatens cultural sites, water and religion.

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11 a.m.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners says it could be moving oil through the Dakota Access pipeline as early as next week.

The company is finishing up construction under the Lake Oahe Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota — the last piece of work for the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois.

American Indian tribes that rely on the lake continue fighting in court, fearing contamination from a pipeline leak.

Oil already is in parts of the line leading up to the lake. ETP says in court documents it's likely to put oil under the lake next week.

Spokeswoman Vicki Granado says it would take about three weeks to get the oil to Illinois. At that point the pipeline would be considered fully operational.

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12:55 a.m.

American Indians from around the country are bringing their frustrations with the Trump administration and its approval of the Dakota Access oil pipeline to the nation's capital.

Tribal members will gather on the National Mall Tuesday to begin four days of activities.

The week culminates Friday with a march to the White House dubbed the "Native Nations March on DC."

Tribal members and supporters plan to camp each day on the National Mall, with teepees, a ceremonial fire, cultural workshops and speakers. Native American leaders also plan to lobby lawmakers to protect tribal rights.

The protest comes as a federal judge in Washington is weighing a request by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to halt construction of the last section of the pipeline.