The Obama administration says it is not yet ready to make a decision about the Dakota Access Pipeline after earlier reports suggested a decision could come as soon as Monday.
Politico, citing sources familiar with the project, initially reported that the government was ready to give permission for the $3.7 billion project to take over disputed land.
“The process is ongoing and no decisions have been made,” an official familiar with the project told Politico late Friday.
An approval could strike a blow to the nearby Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has fought for months to stop construction across Lake Oahe, arguing that it encroaches on sacred land and could potentially contaminate water sources.
Construction was put on hold in September after Obama halted it.
“As a practical matter, pipeline construction in the state of North Dakota is complete except for the crossing beneath the Missouri River at Lake Oahe,” Dakota Access LLC, the company behind the pipeline said.
“We now wish to reiterate — publicly — that Dakota Access shares the safety concerns of the [Army Corps of Engineers] and is prepared to suspend activities at the site if Dakota Access and the Corps can agree upon a date certain upon which we can complete construction,” the company said.
Hundreds of protesters have demonstrated at the construction site since April. Dozens of protesters were arrested at the site on Friday, after word spread that a decision might be imminent, Reuters reported.
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