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Construction Plans, Protest Renewed For Dakota Pipeline

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For months, Americans, and others around the world, watched as the TransCanada corporation and its associates petitioned the U.S. government and fought with various protest groups to build an oil pipeline across the Missouri River, just upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe reservation in North Dakota.

In December 2016, then-President Barack Obama paused the construction to allow further study of the environmental impacts of the project. In January 2017, President Donald Trump reversed the action, and signed an executive order to restart construction.

But the order has also restarted protesters and opposition groups who want to permanently block the project.

"We are committed to the people of Standing Rock, we are committed to nonviolence, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected," Anthony Diggs, a spokesman for the veterans group Veterans Stand For Standing Rock, told CNBC. "That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch."

He added that the group is raising money to "have a larger, solid boots-on-the-ground presence" during the protest.

In response to Trump's executive order abandoning Obama's environmental study pledge, the Standing Rock tribe issued a statement claiming the reversal "would amount to a wholly unexplained and arbitrary change based on the president's personal views and, potentially, personal investments."

Trump reportedly holds personal investments tied to the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to Reuters, Trump has a personal stake in Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the DAPL.

A December statement from the Trump transition team said his support "has nothing to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans."

But opponents of the project continue to focus on the government's sudden abandonment of Obama's environmental study request.

According to CNBC, the Indigenous Environmental Network has released a statement saying, "Instead of following proper legal procedure and completing the Environmental Impact Study, the Army has chosen to escalate an already tense situation, go against their own processes and potentially put people in harm's way."

Sources: CNBC, Reuters / Photo credit: Veterans Stand For Standing Rock/Facebook

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