BISMARCK, N.D. – The Latest on the Dakota Access pipeline (all times local):
Opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline protested in North Dakota’s capital for a fourth straight day.
A couple of hundred protesters marched around downtown Bismarck on Thursday, prompting police to temporarily shut down a couple of streets.
Police spokesman Sgt. Mark Buschena (boo-SHEE’-nuh) says eight people were arrested, including a man who allegedly resisted arrest, spit at officers and yanked on an officer’s gun holster. Six others were arrested on criminal trespass charges, and another was arrested on a California warrant.
Protesters have targeted numerous sites in Bismarck and neighbouring Mandan since Monday, including the state capitol and the state-owned Bank of North Dakota.
About 500 people have been arrested since August in protests against the $3.8 billion pipeline that’s to carry North Dakota oil to Illinois.
An administrative law judge has been appointed to oversee a potential hearing on whether the company building the $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline violated orders from North Dakota regulators.
The state Public Service Commission last week proposed a fine of at least $15,000 against a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. The PSC says the company in October failed to get approval to continue with pipeline work after diverting construction around tribal artifacts found along the pipeline route.
The State Historic Preservation Office concurred with the company’s plan, and ETP has said it didn’t do anything wrong. It can agree to a fine or request a hearing to fight one.
State Office of Administrative Hearings Director Timothy Dawson says any hearing likely wouldn’t be until mid-December.
A North Dakota legislative committee has voted to forego formal events at the state capitol due to security reasons involving the Dakota Access pipeline protests, including a biennial tribal address.
Thursday’s 10-3 vote means the Legislature will not allow presentations from the state’s chief justice and Native American tribal leaders when lawmakers reconvene in January. The measure exempts the governor’s State of the State address.
Republican House Majority Leader Al Carlson says ongoing protests of the Dakota Access pipeline have “significantly strained” the state Highway Patrol, which provides security at the state capitol.
Democrats on the North Dakota Legislative Committee opposed the motion. Rolla Rep. Marvin Nelson says scrubbing the traditional tribal address is not going to “help further relations” those who oppose the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline.