BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has set an early December deadline for American Indians and others to leave an encampment in North Dakota where they’ve been entrenched for months protesting the Dakota Access pipeline. Tribes including the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux are fighting the Dakota Access project because they fear it will harm drinking water and cultural sites. Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners says the 1,200-mile pipeline through the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois will be safe.
Here’s a guide to the latest developments and key background about the protest:
The Corps said last week in a letter to Standing Rock Sioux tribal leader Dave Archambault that all federal lands north of the Cannonball River will be closed to public access Dec. 5 for “safety concerns.” The order includes the sprawling encampment called Oceti Sakowin, or Seven Council Fires camp, that’s a living protest against the four-state $3.8 billion pipeline.