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Contemporary Indigenous Issues and Resistance

Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project's Westeridge loading dock is seen in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Kinder Morgan Serves Notice to Landowners on Pipeline Route

Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project's Westeridge loading dock is seen in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project’s Westeridge loading dock is seen in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Letters to be mailed to property owners along proposed route of Trans Mountain expansion

CBC News Posted: Feb 23, 2017

Kinder Morgan is beginning to issue letters to Burnaby, B.C. landowners whose property falls on the pipeline corridor, outlining how the project will utilize their land.

“One of the next steps in the process for us … is to get into more of the details of the route of where the pipeline will go,” said Ali Hounsell, spokesperson for Kinder Morgan “There’s about 60 parcels of land through Burnaby that the pipeline will go [through].”

The proposed route for the Kinder Morgan expansion pipeline is highlighted in green. The orange trail is an alternative route — which runs through a residential area.

The proposed route for the Kinder Morgan expansion pipeline is highlighted in green. The orange trail is an alternative route — which runs through a residential area.

Hounsell says the pipeline will not run through residential areas. Of the 60 parcels, a dozen are either commercial or industrial zones with the City of Burnaby owning the remainder.

“There are no individual homeowners who will be impacted by the new route,” said Hounsell. “The idea is that we are trying to minimize the disruption to individuals. Obviously, when we get to the construction phase, there will be some disruption.”

Opposed landowners

The notices are part of a draft document that was approved by the National Energy Board earlier this month. The plan requires Kinder Morgan to list the number of landowners that are affected by the project.

Anyone objecting to the use of their property can file a statement of opposition to the NEB, which could potentially reroute the corridor if the reason for the opposition is found to be justified.

But Hounsell says there are existing relationships between landowners along the corridor and Kinder Morgan.

Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan says there's still a long fight ahead of the Kinder Morgan expansion project. (Simon Charland/CBC)

Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan says there’s still a long fight ahead of the Kinder Morgan expansion project. (Simon Charland/CBC)

But, Burnaby remains opposed to the project with Mayor Derek Corrigan saying the route remains “offensive.”

“They are now looking at going through the Burnaby Mountain conservation area, which is not a good alternative as far as we’re concerned,” said Corrigan. “It will have a significant impact on our conservation and park area.”

Corrigan is also challenging the notion that no residential areas will be adversely affected by the property.

“There is no way that they can bring this pipeline through a very dense urban area and not have an impact on residents in general, and some residents in particular.”

Upcoming roadblocks

Burnaby has appealed the the NEB’s approval of the project, and will argue their case in the Federal Court of Appeal. Meanwhile, the City of Vancouver is in the process of requesting its own judicial review of the B.C. government’s approval of the project.

“There [are] still significant hurdles for Kinder Morgan to achieve before this project moves ahead,” said Corrigan.

The company says it will attempt to mend its fractured relationship with the city.

“We continue to make efforts to reach out to them, and we’re hopeful and optimistic — now that the pipeline is approved — to be able to sit down and have these kind of working relationships,” said Hounsell.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/kinder-morgan-serves-notice-to-landowners-on-pipeline-route-1.3997092

This aerial photo provided the Morton County Sheriff's Department shows the closed Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, ND, on Thursday.   (Uncredited)

Dakota Access Pipeline Could Start Flowing Oil Within Weeks

This aerial photo shows the Oceti Sakowin camp, where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access pipeline on federal land, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Cannon Ball, N.D.

This aerial photo shows the Oceti Sakowin camp, where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access pipeline on federal land, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Cannon Ball, N.D.

  • Oil could be flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline in less than two weeks, according to court documents filed by developer Energy Transfer Partners.

By Black Powder | RPM Staff, Feb 24, 2017

The Texas-based company building the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline says oil could be flowing in less than two weeks.

The Washington Times reportsAttorneys for Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) said in a court-ordered status report Thursday that the final 1,100-foot section is nearly finished, which would enable the 1,172-mile, four-state pipeline to begin operations months ahead of previous estimates.

“Dakota Access reports that the pilot hole is complete,” said the report filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court. “The company is currently reaming the hole — i.e., making it larger in order to accept the pipe. As of now, Dakota Access estimates and targets that the pipeline will be complete and ready to flow oil anywhere between the week of March 6, 2017 and April 1, 2017.”

According to The Associated Press, the work under the Missouri River reservoir is the last stretch of the pipeline that will move oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois. ETP got permission for the lake work last month from the pro-energy Trump administration, though Native American tribes continue fighting the project in court.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes say the pipeline threatens their drinking water, cultural sites and ability to practice their religion, which depends on pure water.

The tribes have also asked for “meaningful pre-decisional government-to-government consultation.”

This aerial photo provided the Morton County Sheriff's Department shows the closed Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, ND, on Thursday. (Uncredited)

This aerial photo provided the Morton County Sheriff’s Department shows the closed Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, ND, on Thursday. (Uncredited)

Protesters cleared from camp blocking last section of pipeline

Yesterday, dozens of people were arrested as police in full riot gear cleared the Oceti Sakowin camp where opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline had gathered for the better part of a year.

RELATED:

About 220 officers and 18 National Guardsmen methodically searched protester tents and other temporary homes for remaining holdouts.

Authorities said they arrested 46 people, including a group of military veterans who had to be carried out and a man who climbed atop a building and stayed there for more than an hour before surrendering.

The arrests occurred a day after the Army Corps of Engineers ordered protesters to clear the camp by a 2 p.m. Wednesday deadline.

Shortly before the Wednesday deadline about 150 people left the camp blocking the last section of pipeline.

Police have made more than 700 arrests since protests began.

Two windows are covered up Friday morning at the Enbridge building in Bemidji. Police are investigating after shots were fired at the front door and windows of the building. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidji Pioneer)

Bemidji Police Investigating Shots Fired At Enbridge Building, No One Hurt

Police are investigating after shots were fired at the front door and windows of the Enbridge’s Bemidji office. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidij Pioneer)

Police are investigating after shots were fired at the front door and windows of the Enbridge’s Bemidji office. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidij Pioneer)

Red Power Media | Feb 23, 2017

Police are investigating after shots were fired at the front door and windows of Enbridge’s Bemidji office.

According to a news release from Enbridge’s communications supervisor Shannon Gustafson, Enbridge employees arrived at the building in Bemidji’s industrial park on Wednesday morning and discovered the shots.

No one was injured and police are investigating the incident as a drive-by shooting, Gustafson said.

Two windows are covered up Friday morning at the Enbridge building in Bemidji. Police are investigating after shots were fired at the front door and windows of the building. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidji Pioneer)

Two windows are covered up Friday morning at the Enbridge building in Bemidji. Police are investigating after shots were fired at the front door and windows of the building. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidji Pioneer)

Bemidji Chief of Police Mike Mastin said in a news release Thursday that the damage to the building appeared to have been caused by a shotgun and that the case remains under investigation.

“This incident was reckless and extremely dangerous,” Gustafson said in the release. “This criminal activity puts people at risk. Enbridge takes this activity very seriously and fully supports the prosecution of all of those involved.”

As of Thursday morning, the Enbridge office’s front windows were covered with black plastic and damage from a shotgun blast was visible.

Enbridge, a Canadian energy company, has been involved in a number of high-profile oil pipeline projects both locally and out of state. Enbridge is currently working to replace Line 3, a pipeline that runs from Alberta, Canada, through northern Minnesota to Superior, Wis. The company’s efforts have been met with opposition by local activists including Honor the Earth, a Native-led environmentalist group.

In August, Enbridge also announced an agreement to acquire an equity interest in the Bakken Pipeline System that includes two projects, one of which is the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, the focus of a longstanding protest camp near Cannon Ball, N.D.

Pellet marks on a window frame at the Enbridge building in Bemidji. Police are investigating after shots were fired at the front door and windows of the building. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidji Pioneer)

Pellet marks on a window frame at the Enbridge building in Bemidji. Police are investigating after shots were fired at the front door and windows of the building. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidji Pioneer)

Honor the Earth founder Winona LaDuke said Thursday that the group has no idea who is responsible for firing the shots at the Bemidji office.

“We’d like a full investigation as to who would have shot up the front of the Enbridge office,” LaDuke said. “We certainly have no knowledge and don’t approve.”

SOURCE: Bemidji Pioneer

U.S. National Guard and police sweep the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp on Feb. 23, 2017. (source: livestream.com / Unicorn Riot)

Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Camp Holdouts Arrested

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Law enforcement vehicles arrive at the closed Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Feb. 23, 2017. (James MacPherson / AP)

Red Power Media | Feb 23, 2017

CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP)– Police in full riot gear began arresting Dakota Access pipeline opponents who remained in a protest camp in North Dakota on Thursday in defiance of orders to leave.

Most protesters left peacefully Wednesday, when authorities closed the camp on Army Corps of Engineers land in advance of spring flooding, but some refused to go.

Eighteen National Guardsmen and dozens of law officers entered the camp from two directions shortly before midday Thursday, along with several law enforcement and military vehicles. A helicopter and airplane flew overhead.

Officers checked structures and began arresting people, putting them in vans to take to jail. The number of arrests wasn’t immediately known.

U.S. National Guard and police sweep the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp on Feb. 23, 2017. (source: livestream.com / Unicorn Riot)

U.S. National Guard and police sweep the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp on Feb. 23, 2017. (source: livestream.com / Unicorn Riot)

The operation began shortly after authorities said Corps officials had met with camp leaders. They didn’t divulge the outcome of those talks.

The camp — known as Oceti Sakowin — near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation has since August been the main site for demonstrators trying to thwart construction of the final section of the $3.8 billion pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux, whose reservation is downstream, say Dakota Access threatens their drinking water and cultural sites. Dallas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners disputes that.

When complete, the pipeline will carry oil through the Dakotas and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.

Police also had a SWAT vehicle on hand Thursday in case of what Highway Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson described as a worst-case “SWAT scenario” — an armed person barricading themselves in a structure in the camp.

American Indian elders have told police there are people willing to resort to drastic measures to stay in the camp, Iverson said. Similar sentiments have been expressed by protesters on social media, Iverson said.

“We’re doing everything we can to avoid that kind of a situation,” he said. “We don’t want it to reach a flash point, but at some point, enough is enough.”

At its peak, the camp was home to thousands of protesters. Gov. Doug Burgum estimated Wednesday night that as many as 50 people remained in the camp. Police early Thursday said an additional 15 crossed a frozen river and entered the camp on foot.

Before authorities moved in, Burgum had said those remaining at the camp still had a chance to leave without facing charges. The state sent a bus to the site at midday to transport anyone to Bismarck, where officials were doling out basic necessities, along with hotel and bus vouchers.

Corps Col. John Henderson has said the taxpayer-funded cleanup of the site could take about a month and cost as much as $1.2 million. The Corps had warned that the protesters need to leave the site before the spring melt floods the land and spreads debris from the camp downriver.

A fire set by protesters burns in the background as opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline leave their main protest camp near Cannon Ball, N.D. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (Tom Stromme / The Bismarck Tribune)

A fire set by protesters burns in the background as opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline leave their main protest camp near Cannon Ball, N.D. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (Tom Stromme / The Bismarck Tribune)

Early Wednesday, protesters burned some wooden structures on site in what they described as a leaving ceremony. Authorities said about 20 fires were set and a 7-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl were taken to hospitals to be treated for burns.

Shortly before the 2 p.m. deadline to leave, about 150 people marched out of the soggy camp, singing and playing drums as they walked down a highway, carrying an American flag hung upside-down.

The Associated Press

[SOURCE]

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DAPL-Inspired Mask Bill, Trespassing Bill Pass Both Houses

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KFYR-TV | Feb 21, 2017

Two Dakota Access Pipeline protest inspired bills are now headed to Governor Doug Burgum’s desk for final approval before becoming law.

A trespassing bill lawmakers say will ease the burden on the state’s justice system makes trespassing a violation, essentially the same as a minor speeding ticket, instead of a criminal offense.

The mask bill also finished the legislative process, but is much different than when it started.

It’s been amended to say wearing a mask is only illegal in the commission of a crime if the person is wearing it with the intent to harass or intimidate.

“This might be the only time the assembly hears me stand and say that we adopted an ACLU amendment to a bill. We did that in the House essentially. We want to make sure that we’re protecting everyone’s constitutional rights. This bill does that,” said Rep. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo.

The trespassing statute now mirrors the law Game and Fish uses to ticket trespassers.

[SOURCE]

Raymond Cormier, 53, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine, 15, whose body was found in Winnipeg's Red River in August 2014.

Tina Fontaine’s Alleged Killer Going Straight to Trial

Raymond Cormier will be directly indicted in a Winnipeg court on Tuesday afternoon. (Tom Andrich/ CBC)

Raymond Cormier will be directly indicted in a Winnipeg court on Tuesday afternoon. (Tom Andrich/ CBC)

Raymond Cormier will be directly indicted and will not have a preliminary hearing

By Katie Nicholson, CBC News Posted: Feb 21, 2017

The man charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine will be directly indicted in a Manitoba court Tuesday afternoon.

A preliminary hearing had been scheduled for Raymond Cormier in May but that’s all out the window now. Cormier’s case will now proceed directly to trial.

“That is, quite honestly, a problem for us,” said Tony Kavanagh, the senior counsel on Cormier’s defence team.

“A preliminary inquiry is a very useful tool for the criminal justice system, Crown and defence alike,” said Kavanagh, a former Crown prosecutor.

“What it really allows us to do is to zone in on the key issues. Who are the main witnesses? What’s the key issue of contention in terms of this case and in a case as serious as this? It’s perhaps the most important tool the defence and Crown has.”

Without a preliminary hearing, Kavanagh said he and his client will have to sift through a vast volume of evidence without being able to hone in on the specifics of the case against Cormier.

“One of the difficulties, in fact, is because the preliminary inquiry was taken away from our client we have less of a chance to do what I would call the discovery process where we might test a few witnesses,” said Kavanagh. “That’s been yanked away from him.”

Lawyer Tony Kavanagh says preliminary hearing "yanked away" from client Raymond Cormier. (Lyza Sale/ CBC

Lawyer Tony Kavanagh says preliminary hearing “yanked away” from client Raymond Cormier. (Lyza Sale/ CBC

Cormier was charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine in December 2015 following a months-long elaborate Mr. Big Sting. Since that arrest, he has been in segregation, mostly at the Brandon Correctional Centre

Manitoba Department of Justice Prosecutions policy states “normally a preliminary inquiry should be held and a direct indictment should not be considered unless exceptional circumstances exist that outweigh the benefits of holding a preliminary inquiry.”

According to the policy, “overriding the right to a preliminary inquiry by preferring direct indictment is an extraordinary step.”

According to the province’s policy, the Crown can press for direct indictment if:

  • There is danger of harm, trauma or intimidation to witnesses or their families.
  • Reasonable basis to believe that witnesses will attempt to subvert court process.
  • The age or health of victims and witnesses is factor.
  • A lengthy court process creates a substantial inconvenience to witnesses.
  • The need to protect ongoing police work.

Perhaps most relevant to an investigation, which included a Mr. Big Sting, the policy states “the Crown can seek direct indictment if the outcome of the case will be largely dependent on the outcome of Charter challenges to Crown evidence that cannot be advanced at a preliminary inquiry,” for example, whether or not wiretap evidence could be used.

‘A great concern’

Kavanagh said he doesn’t know which arguments the Crown made to proceed to direct indictment.

“It’s always a great concern when the Crown takes this step,” said Kavanagh.

“It does bring with it consequent dangers and one of the dangers especially in a case with a Mr. Big — especially in a case with other tenuous evidence and our client strongly denies this allegation — it takes away that opportunity to discover,” said Kavanagh. “So it won’t be until the trial itself that we’ll actually get to see what we’re dealing with.”

Although rare, Manitoba Justice has granted direct indictments in high-profile cases before. In 2010, a preliminary hearing was scrubbed in the case against Denis Jerome Labossiere, who was later convicted of slaying his parents and brother.

A preliminary hearing was also scrubbed in the case of Jeffrey Cansanay who was facing charges of second-degree murder.  In 2007, the original case against Cansanay was thrown out after going straight to trial because two witnesses ended up refusing to testify. Cansanay was re-arrested, retried and convicted three years later.

Kavanagh said Cormier is disappointed and concerned by the decision.

“He thought it was yet another step in the process of curtailing what he sees as his rights, his ability to defend himself against some of the most serious charges in the criminal justice system,” Kavanagh said.

Kavanagh estimates the earliest a trial date will be set will be the end of 2017 or early 2018.

Crown attorney James Ross declined comment.

The direct indictment will also delay another legal matter Cormier is grappling with — an appeal before the Law Enforcement Review Agency (LERA). Cormier filed a complaint in 2016 with LERA claiming Winnipeg police fabricated evidence against him in the death of Tina Fontaine.

Cormier had a LERA court date scheduled for Wednesday but it will now be put over to another date.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/iteam/raymond-cormier-tina-fontaine-direct-indictment-1.3991305

Enbridge has shut down five nearby pipelines as a precaution, the National Energy Board says. (Martin Weaver/CBC)

Enbridge Pipeline Leaks 200,000 Litres of Oil Condensate in Strathcona County

Enbridge has shut down five nearby pipelines as a precaution, the National Energy Board says. (Martin Weaver/CBC)

Enbridge has shut down five nearby pipelines as a precaution, the National Energy Board says. (Martin Weaver/CBC)

The pipeline was damaged by a third-party line strike caused by construction in the area, Enbridge says

CBC News | Feb 18, 2017

Cleanup efforts are underway after an Enbridge pipeline leaked 200,000 litres of oil condensate at an industrial site in Strathcona County, Alberta.

The Line 2A pipeline was damaged by a third-party line strike involving Ledcor and TransCanada who were doing construction in the area on Friday afternoon, Enbridge said in a media release.

Enbridge immediately shut down five other pipelines in the area as a precaution. Crews are now working to clean up the spill, which is contained in an excavation pit.

Air quality is being monitored, Enbridge says.

The National Energy Board was notified of the spill Friday at around 3 p.m.

NEB staff have been called to the site east of Edmonton to oversee cleanup and remediation of any environment effects caused by the spill.

Around 200,000 litres — or 1250 barrels — of oil condensate has leaked from the pipeline. No one was injured, there was no fire and no evacuations were ordered as a result of the spill, the NEB said.

‘There is no product that has travelled off-lease’

There is no risk to public safety, NEB spokesman Darin Barter said.

“The incident is still under investigation. All of the product is actually contained within a pit that was being excavated at the time, so there is no product that has travelled off-lease,” Barter said.

Oil condensate is a “very light” oil that is produced from a gas formation and turns into a liquid as it enters a pipeline, Barter said.

It is usually used for fuel at refiners or for other industrial purposes, he added.

Barter could not say how long cleanup would take, but said NEB staff will remain on-site for as long as they’re required.

“I know they’re making good progress right now,” he said.

“We want to see all of it cleaned up as soon as possible. It’s not in a sensitive area, it’s within a pipeline right of way. But any time you have product outside a pipeline, we want to make sure it’s done properly.”

The Enbridge facility in Strathcona County, Alberta. (Martin Weaver/CBC)

The Enbridge facility in Strathcona County, Alberta. (Martin Weaver/CBC)

[SOURCE]

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Judge Dismisses Trespass Cases Midway Through Trial

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Bismarck Tribune | Feb 17, 2017

A judge dismissed the criminal trespass charges against three pipeline protesters halfway through their jury trial this morning.

According to lawyers in the courtroom, the judge found the prosecutor had not shown the land was posted or that the protesters had been asked by an authorized person to leave — at least one of which is required to prove criminal trespass.

On Friday morning, a jury was picked and the prosecutor put five highway patrolmen on the stand. After that, the three defense attorneys motioned to get the cases dismissed.

Kent Morrow, who represented one of the women charged, said in an interview after court that the patrolmen testified to people being on private property, but not to anyone with authority over the property telling them to leave.

“The judge said the law and statute is pretty clear,” Morrow said.

In his defense, Morton County State’s Attorney Brian Grosinger argued in court that the protesters should have known the land was private.

“What I had argued to the judge was I could prove notice by circumstantial evidence,” Grosinger said in an interview. “By the circumstances surrounding — considering it was a construction site, the people were wearing masks.”

The three Dakota Access Pipeline protesters were among 22 people arrested at a construction site near Almont on Sep. 13. According to an affidavit filed with the charges, a highway patrol captain “advised the protesters they were protesting and subject to arrest.”

Bruce Nestor, a Minnesota-based attorney representing some pipeline protesters, recently got three trespass cases from the same day dismissed on similar grounds after filing a motion.

Watching the trial today, Nestor said: “This was the same thing, except here the state wasted the judge’s time, the jury’s time and brought six highway troopers in from their normal duties to spend half a day at the Morton County Courthouse.”

Grosinger said he would work to prove notice more adequately in future trials.

[SOURCE]

Signs hang in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., January 24, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters )

US Army Formally Ends Study of Disputed Pipeline Crossing Near Standing Rock Reservation

Signs hang in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., January 24, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters )

Signs hang in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., January 24, 2017. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters )

Authorities want the area cleaned before spring floodwaters wash trash into nearby rivers

The Associated Press | Feb 17, 2017

The U.S. Army on Friday formally ended further environmental study of the Dakota Access oil pipeline’s disputed crossing beneath a Missouri River reservoir in southern North Dakota.

Meanwhile, its Corps of Engineers branch continued efforts to accelerate cleanup at a protest camp near the drilling site that’s threatened by spring flooding.

The Corps launched the study on Jan. 18 in light of concerns from the Standing Rock Sioux and other Native American tribes that a pipeline leak beneath Lake Oahe would pollute drinking water.

President Donald Trump a week later pushed to advance pipeline construction, and the Army gave Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners permission for the crossing on Feb. 8. Work quickly began on the final chunk of construction.

Pipeline opponents have continued to call for more study despite the fact that ETP has said the $3.8 billion pipeline to move North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois could be operating as early as next month. More than 100,000 comments had already been submitted for the study, according to the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The Army published notice Friday in the Federal Register that it was scrapping the study.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux also are fighting the pipeline work in court, with the next hearing set for Feb. 28. In the meantime, hundreds of pipeline opponents have continued to occupy a camp near the drilling site in North Dakota.

State and federal authorities have told the few hundred people remaining in the camp to leave by Wednesday. Authorities want the area cleaned and closed before spring floodwaters wash tons of trash and debris into nearby rivers, including the Missouri River, and cause an environmental disaster.

The tribe launched a cleanup effort in late January. The state and Corps were continuing Friday to try to line up additional contractors to speed up the work, according to Corps Capt. Ryan Hignight and Mike Nowatzki, spokesman for Gov. Doug Burgum.

“We’re running out of time,” Hignight said. “We need to ensure that the land is remediated as soon as possible.”

Some in camp think the flood fears are overblown and that authorities are trying to turn public sentiment against them.

“We’re all working hard to get the lower (flood-prone) grounds clear,” said Giovanni Sanchez, a Pennsylvania man who has been at the camp since November. “I think they’re just trying to find any reason to get us out of here.”

The latest spring flood outlook from the National Weather Service, issued Thursday, calls for minor flooding in the area. The outlook doesn’t include flood risks associated with river ice jams, which can’t be predicted.

[SOURCE]

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Tanker Illegally Dumps Crude Oil Near Lloydminster, Sask. Water Treatment Plant

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Illegal dumping to blame for an oil spill near Lloydminster

Global News | Feb 16, 2017

An oil spill near the water treatment plant in Lloydminster, Sask., was not a spill at all.

The Saskatchewan government said it was due to a tank-trailer illegally dumping around 2,000 litres of heavy crude into a ditch. The oil then entered the storm water system.

A city staff member saw the oil near the facility, which is northeast of Lloydminster on the Saskatchewan side of the border. City crews responded at around 12:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

“The city was quick to isolate the spill and to clean up and recover as much as possible,” Wes Kotyk, acting assistant deputy minister of the Saskatchewan Environmental Protection Division, said.

“The product that entered the storm sewer, there was no reporting of any of it exiting into any environmentally sensitive areas, so there’s no impacts to water bodies or other infrastructure,” Kotyk said.

No threat to the city’s drinking water supply is believed to exist.

It is being contained with sandbags.

Provincial officials are trying to determine who is responsible for the incident, for which possible fines range from one dollar to $1 million per day, Kotyk said.

No threat to the city’s water supply is believed to exist.

About 95 per cent of the oil was recovered as of Tuesday.

Remediation efforts could be done in “the next couple days,” according to Lloydminster Fire Department Chief Jordan Newton.

“There should be no permanent environmental damage. We are working to remediate all the environmental impact to return that area to what it once was,” Newton said.

Crews from the Ministry of Environment are investigating, along with Lloydminster RCMP and the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency.

A third-party environmental group is monitoring the situation as well, Newton said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Lloydminster’s public safety office at 780-874-3710.

With files from The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]