North Dakota senator: Acting Army Secretary directs Army Corps to grant easement to finish Dakota Access pipeline

NORTH DAKOTA -- North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven says the Acting Secretary of the Army has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with an easement necessary to complete the Dakota Access pipeline.

Hoeven issued a statement Tuesday, January 31st after he says Acting Army Secretary Robert Speer informed him of the decision. Hoeven said he also spoke with Vice President Mike Pence.

A spokesman for the U.S. Army did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday night. Hoeven spokesman Don Canton says that Speer's move means the easement "isn't quite issued yet, but they plan to approve it" within days.

Completion of the $3.8 billion project is finished except for a section under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The pipeline has been the target of months of protests.

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault is renewing the tribe's vow to go to court if the easement is granted.

Members of Archambault's tribe, along with thousands of supporters from around the country, have spent months protesting the pipeline. They warn it could leak and pollute water, although developer Energy Transfer Partners says the pipeline would be safe.

Archambault says the possibility that the easement will be granted "is a good indicator of what this country is going to be up against in the next four years."

President Donald Trump on January 24th, his fourth day in office, signed executive actions to advance approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

The decision to advance the pipelines cast aside efforts by President Barack Obama’s administration to block construction of the two pipelines, while making good on one of President Trump’s campaign promises.

Details on the executive orders are below: