The governor of North Dakota ordered protesters on Wednesday 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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by February 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 February 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 $3.8 billion pipeline after the Corps of Engineers granted a final easement to Energy Transfer Partners LP last week.
(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in CHICAGO and Brendan O'Brien in MILWAUKEE; Editing by Tom Hogue)