The N.D. pipeline protest camp is gone, 46 arrested

The camp protesters had occupied for months was evacuated peacefully.
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The North Dakota site that for months was home to opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline was cleared of its last protesters on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

The Morton County Sheriff's office made a brief announcement on social media, using the Dakota name that protesters had given to the camp.

Forum News Service says North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson told reporters 33 people were arrested on Thursday, with no known injuries. The number was later updated to 46. "Things have been flowing very smoothly," Iverson said.

Some of the protesters refused to walk from the camp and were carried by law enforcement, Forum News says.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier told ABC News:

“I am hopeful that this announcement brings us closer to finality in what has been an incredibly challenging time for our citizens and law enforcement professionals. Having dealt with riots, violence, trespassing and property crimes, the people of Morton County are looking forward to getting back to their normal lives.”

Most left Wednesday

The majority of the protesters at the camp on the Missouri River near Cannon Ball, North Dakota left on Wednesday.

Gov. Doug Burgum had issued an emergency order setting that day as the deadline for the area to be evacuated. With the river expected to rise several feet in a few days, Burgum said it was a public safety issue.

Authorities were also anxious to begin cleaning up the waste and garbage left behind at the camp before the site is swallowed by the river.

About 100 people left the camp peacefully on Wednesday, with many of them praying, chanting, or drumming on their way out, CNN reports.

Their goal of stopping completion of the oil pipeline next to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation has not been realized, but one of those who left Wednesday said the end of Oceti Sakowin is not a defeat.

“It’s a victory because this has inspired a movement that will continue,” Tim Scott, a camp medic volunteer from Massachusetts told Forum News.

Some set fire to the tents or structures in the camp before leaving, telling ABC they would rather burn them in a ceremony than have them destroyed by the authorities.

There were also a couple of explosions, the cause of which was not immediately clear. Law enforcement told Forum News a 17-year-old girl who suffered severe burns was airlifted to a Twin Cities hospital.

Pipeline poised for completion

The company building the Dakota Access Pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, said in its earnings report Thursday that the 1,172 mile line is 99 percent finished, Reuters reports.

The only uncompleted section is the one that runs under Lake Oahe, a reservoir formed by a dam on the Missouri River. The Standing Rock tribe and its supporters argued that pipeline construction would threaten their drinking water quality if there was a leak.

But earlier this month the Army Corps of Engineers gave the company the permit it needs to finish the line. Energy Transfer Partners expects the pipeline to be ready in late March or early April, Reuters reports.

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