Refuse remains in the Dakota Access pipeline opponents' main protest camp as a fire burns in the background in southern North Dakota near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, as authorities prepare to shut down the camp in advance of spring flooding season. (AP Photo/Blake Nicholson)

The Latest: Negotiations on camp cleanup efforts break down

February 22, 2017 - 10:56 am

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Latest on plans to close a protest encampment near the Dakota Access pipeline construction site in North Dakota (all times local):

9:50 a.m.

Cleanup efforts at the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp are on hold after negotiations broke down between authorities and camp leaders.

Crews have been working to tidy up the camp since January. Contractors were brought in last week to boost those efforts because authorities feared the onset of spring flooding at the camp near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

North Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson says the delay Wednesday is unfortunate since time is running out.

Camp wellness director Johnny Aseron says it's too muddy for trucks and other heavy equipment following winter rain and snow. Camp officials also took issue with plans by authorities to have armed police escort the equipment into the camp.

The Army Corps of Engineers has ordered the camp closed at 2 p.m. Wednesday.


8:30 a.m.

Dakota Access pipeline protesters are ceremonially burning some of their living structures ahead of the closure of a longstanding camp in North Dakota.

About 200 to 300 protesters remain at the camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The Army Corps of Engineers has ordered the camp closed at 2 p.m. Wednesday, citing the potential for spring flooding.

Those left in camp milled about peacefully Wednesday, many in prayer. At least four wooden structures were being burned in what protesters say is part of the ceremony of leaving.

Nestor Silva, of California, says he is planning to move to a nearby camp being set up on land leased by the Cheyenne River Sioux. Law enforcement say they expect to make some arrests, but Silva says he doesn't expect any trouble.


6:30 a.m.

Authorities in North Dakota are offering assistance and services to Dakota Access pipeline protesters as they close a longstanding encampment near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Up to 300 people remain at the camp, down from thousands at the protest's peak. The Army Corps of Engineers has ordered the camp closed at 2 p.m. Wednesday, citing the dangers of impending spring floods.

North Dakota state officials have set up a travel assistance center. They're offering personal kits, water and snacks, health assessments, bus fare for protesters to travel home, and food and hotel vouchers.

They're planning to start buses from the camp to Bismarck at 9 a.m. But law enforcement officials say they expect some protesters won't leave without being arrested.


12:16 a.m.

The Army Corps of Engineers' plan to close a Dakota Access pipeline protest camp isn't likely to end on-the-ground opposition in North Dakota.

It also may not spell the end of heavy law enforcement presence near where the Dallas-based developer is finishing the last big section of the pipeline. When completed, the pipeline will carry oil from North Dakota through the Dakotas and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.

The protest camp has been around since August and at times housed thousands of people. The Corps has told the few hundred who remain that they must leave by 2 p.m. Wednesday. The Corps says it's concerned about potential flooding as snow melts.

Protest leader Phyllis Young says many will just go to new camps on private land.

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