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Weekend court decision restarts Dakota Access Pipeline construction on private lands

At least nine people were arrested Tuesday in protests across the country as construction began again on the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota.

The nine protesters had unsuccessfully attempted to shut down oil pipelines in various U.S. states, the Associated Press reported. Additionally, armed police arrested 27 protesters yesterday near the Missouri River in North Dakota.

The continued protests follow an appeals court decision over the weekend that denied a temporary halt of construction 20 miles from Lake Oahe, the main source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The Standing Rock Sioux, supported by thousands of tribal federations and protesters on campgrounds in recent months, continues to dispute a lower-court ruling in September that allowed the four-state Dakota Access pipeline to resume construction on private land.

Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based company that owns the pipeline, still needs a final permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for further construction on federal land underneath the Missouri River.

“We continue to believe that the Army Corps will soon issue the easement for approximately 1,100 feet necessary for the crossing beneath the Missouri River—the sole remaining authorization necessary for completion of the project,” the company said in a statement released after Sunday’s ruling.

However, following Sunday’s ruling, the Corps said it was holding off on that approval as it considered possible reforms over how tribes are consulted for these pipeline projects, AP reported.

The U.S. Department of Interior, Justice Department and the Department of the Army also issued a joint statement that will temporarily stop construction on land owned by the Corps.

In July, the Standing Rock Sioux filed a lawsuit against the Corps for violation of the National Historic Preservation Act, which requires tribes be notified when preserved property is being considered for federal development.

North Dakota’s Historic Preservation Office said they found no evidence that sacred burial grounds would be disrupted in the path of the pipeline on private land. The Standing Rock Tribal Council disputes this and continues to argue burial grounds are disrupted by the crude oil path.

On Monday, 27 people protesting construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline were arrested for participating in unlawful activity on private land, near the Sioux camp. This marks the highest number of arrests in a single day, since tribal federations began arriving at the camp in July, Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said.

Laney said that “all are arrested on the same charges: engaging in a riot and criminal trespass.”

According to Laney, the sheriff’s office was notified around 7 a.m. local time that three people were on private property. Of those, two people had chained themselves to bulldozing equipment before construction began.

“It’s not their property,” Laney said. “We are a nation of rule and law, you follow those laws or you get arrested.”

Since September, thousands of people have joined the protest on the Standing Rock reservation and in cities across the country.

“We will not rest until our lands, people, waters and sacred places are permanently protected from this destructive pipeline,” said Dave Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in a statement following the ruling.

Of the protesters on-site in North Dakota, 123 have been arrested since mid-August, including Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and actress Shailene Woodley, AP reported.

READ MORE: Meet the Native Americans fighting against the North Dakota pipeline

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