| CANNON BALL, N.D.
CANNON BALL, N.D. Feb 23 The number of
protesters at a camp near the site of the Dakota Access pipeline
dwindled to around a dozen on Thursday, with those still there
defying a previous deadline set by authorities to vacate the
Armored vehicles were parked near the camp in Cannon Ball,
North Dakota, and members of the Army Corps of Engineers, which
owns the land the camp is on, began entering the site for
cleanup efforts on Thursday morning.
The few protesters who remained were helping with cleanup
efforts. Some buildings that were set on fire Wednesday ahead of
the evacuation deadline were still smoldering, sending acrid
smoke across the camp.
The remaining protesters said they were not afraid of
another confrontation with law enforcement, which has clashed
multiple times with demonstrators, resulting in more than 700
"They have been pointing a gun at our head since day one, so
the feeling of fear becomes pretty normal," said Jeremiah
Barnes, 24, a protester from Oregon who has spent the past five
months at the camp.
On Wednesday, authorities arrested 10 protesters on a
highway outside the camp entrance before the officers retreated
Thousands poured into the protest camp starting in August to
oppose the 1,172-mile (1,885-km) pipeline that Native Americans
and environmental activists say threatens the water resources
and sacred land of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
But a push by President Donald Trump since he took office in
January to quickly complete the $3.8 billion project has dealt a
series of setbacks to those wanting to see the pipeline stopped
or redirected from passing under Lake Oahe on the Missouri
The Army Corps of Engineers and Republican Governor Doug
Burgum set a Wednesday afternoon deadline to clear the camp.
Energy Transfer Partners LP said Thursday that 99
percent of the pipeline is complete after receiving all
necessary federal authorizations earlier this month.
Those in opposition to the pipeline used social media to
generate widespread support from Hollywood celebrities, military
veterans and politicians. An analyst during Energy Transfer
Partners' Thursday earnings call said the project was "probably
a PR failure," for the Dallas-based company.
"There is no way we can defend ourselves there," Kelcy
Warren, the chief executive officer of Energy Transfer Partners
said during the call.
"There was a mistake on my part," he added. "I
underestimated the power of social media. I didn't realize
people could just say things that aren't true and freely do it,
but they did."
(Writing by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Additional reporting
by Catherine Ngai in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)