Sept 8 North Dakota's governor activated 100
National Guard troops on Thursday ahead of an expected ruling by
a federal judge on a Native American tribe's request to halt
construction of a crude oil pipeline that has drawn fierce
opposition and protests.
The $3.7 billion, 1,100-mile (1,770 km) Dakota Access
pipeline would carry oil from just north of land owned by the
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to Illinois, where it would hook up to
an existing pipeline and route crude directly to refineries in
the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The line would be the first to allow movement of crude oil
from the Bakken shale, a vast oil formation in North Dakota,
Montana and parts of Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf
The project has sparked violent clashes between security
officers near the construction site and tribe members and other
protesters. Opponents say the project will damage
burial sites considered sacred to the tribe and pollute the
area's drinking water.
Energy Transfer Partners, which is leading a group
of firms to build the pipeline, did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
Protesters have included actress Shailene Woodley and Green
Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. Some have spray-painted
construction equipment, attached themselves to bulldozers and
broken a fence, local authorities said.
Protests have been held in both North Dakota and Washington,
In a hearing in federal court in Washington, D.C., earlier
this week, U.S. Judge James Boasberg granted in part and denied
in part the tribe's request for a temporary restraining order to
stop the project, and said he would decide by Friday whether to
grant the larger challenge to the pipeline, which would require
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw permits.
In advance of that decision, Governor Jack Dalrymple ordered
National Guard troops to the area from bases in Bismarck and two
Some two dozen troops will help with security at traffic
checkpoints - the closest of which is about 30 miles (48 km)
from the protest site, said Guard spokeswoman Amber Balken. One
hundred troops in all are ready to aid local law enforcement
should protests become violent, she said.
"The Guard members will serve in administrative capacities
and assist in providing security at traffic information points -
the Guardsmen will not be going to the actual protest site,"
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Matthew