- Associated Press - Friday, December 9, 2016

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

12:45 p.m.

Harsh wintry weather is forcing some protesters against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline to leave a vast camp in North Dakota.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Office estimates between 1,800 and 2,200 people remain at the camp on federal land. That’s down from the estimated 3,000 to 5,000 protesters before a couple of storms brought heavy snow and bitter-cold temperatures.

Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault has called for the camp to disband, though Native American rights activist Chase Iron Eyes has implored protesters to stay.

A coalition of grassroots groups opposing the pipeline issued a statement Friday saying they support a transition to protesting against project investors. But they say they also support pipeline opponents who choose to camp overwinter.


12:30 p.m.

A federal court battle over whether the developer of the Dakota Access pipeline can finish the $3.8 billion project will likely linger until at least February.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners wants U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to grant the company permission to lay pipe under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota. The company’s request came after the Army refused permission on Sunday due to opposition by the Standing Rock Sioux.

The stretch under Lake Oahe (oh-AW’-hee) is the last large section of construction for the 1,200-mile, four-state pipeline.

ETP lawyers earlier proposed a schedule that included an early January hearing. Boasberg on Friday gave the government until Jan. 6 to file its opposition to ETP’s request. Oral arguments won’t be held until at least February.


6:30 a.m.

Two Sioux tribes suing over the Dakota Access pipeline say they’re willing to put their claims on hold while the Army considers whether to allow the pipeline to cross under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota.

The Army on Sunday declined to approve an easement for the crossing, citing a need for more study and consideration of alternative routes.

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners believes it already has the necessary permission and has asked a federal judge to concur.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River tribes are challenging pipeline permits at numerous water crossings. They say in court documents that they’re willing to suspend the litigation during the study process. The tribes also intend to oppose ETP’s request to the judge for permission to drill under the lake.

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