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Pipeline Protesters Cheer In North Dakota

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A crowd gathers in celebration at the Oceti Sakowin camp after it was announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers won't grant easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., Dec. 4, 2016.
A crowd gathers in celebration at the Oceti Sakowin camp after it was announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers won't grant easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., Dec. 4, 2016.

This is What’s Trending Today.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers has denied a permit that would be needed to complete a major oil pipeline under the Missouri River.

The announcement on Sunday ended a tense situation between the U.S. government and several thousand people. They had set up a protest camp on federal land in North Dakota.

For months, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been leading demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The tribe says the pipeline would affect its drinking water supply and destroy its holy places.

The Corps of Engineers is responsible for studying and approving permits for all water crossings nationwide. In North Dakota, protesters are celebrating the federal agency’s decision.

Many people who followed the story on social media also are celebrating. They posted articles and videos about the news on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

“North Dakota,” “Dakota Access Pipeline” and “Army Corps of Engineers” were all trending topics on Sunday and Monday. Some news media produced videos of tribe members cheering when they heard the news.

Corry Westbrook is an environmental activist in Florida. She called the agency’s decision “great and wonderful news” in her Facebook post.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted that the protesters “showed the importance of standing together against injustice.”

Members of the tribe started protesting in late July after the Corps of Engineers approved the final land easements and crossing of the Missouri River. The river feeds a nearby, man-made lake, which is used to collect drinking water.

The pipeline is designed to bring oil over 1,800 kilometers from western North Dakota to oil processing centers in southern Illinois. The Army Corps of Engineers controls the land along the way close to the tribe’s reservation.

The crowd of protesters grew over time. At one point, protesters fought with police who tried to break up the crowd by firing tear gas, rubber bullets and a water cannon.

Even with the arrival of cold weather, the number of protesters grew. They were joined last week by thousands of U.S. military veterans who offered their support by building temporary shelters.

The Corps of Engineers said on Sunday it will work with Energy Transfer, the company responsible for building the pipeline, to find another way to cross the lake.

But Energy Transfer said the decision is only a delay and it plans to finish the project without changing the direction of the pipeline.

That means some of the protesters will be back. Many people warned that work on the pipeline could begin again in early 2017 once Donald Trump is sworn-in as president.

A Trump aide says the president-elect will “support construction” of the pipeline and will consider the project once in office.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

What do you think of the decision by the Army Corps of Engineers? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

trend n. something that is currently popular or fashionable

injustice – n. lack of justice

reservation – n. public land set aside for a special purpose

construction – n. the act of building something; putting several pieces together

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