Governor orders evacuation of Dakota pipeline protest camp

Protesters raise a banner on Turtle Island on Thanksgiving day during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline.
Protesters raise a banner on Turtle Island on Thanksgiving day during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline.PHOTO: REUTERS

CHICAGO/MILWAUKEE(Reuters) - The governor of North Dakota ordered protesters on Wednesday (Feb 15) to evacuate a demonstration camp near the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the latest move to clear the area that has served as a base for opposition to the multibillion dollar project.

Republican Doug Burgum ordered demonstrators to leave the camp located on land owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers by Feb 22, citing safety concerns that have arisen due to accelerated snowmelt and rising water levels of the nearby Cannonball River.

Burgum also said in his executive order that the camp poses an environmental danger to the surrounding area. His order reaffirms a Feb 22 deadline set by the Army Corps for the demonstrators to clean up and leave.

Environmentalists and Native Americans who have opposed the pipeline, saying it threatens water resources and sacred sites, have faced a series of set-backs since President Donald Trump took office in January.

A federal judge on Monday denied a request by Native American tribes seeking to halt construction of the final link of the US$3.8 billion pipeline after the Corps of Engineers granted a final easement to Energy Transfer Partners LP last week.