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At approximately 3 a.m. Nov. 16, independent media makers from Digital Smoke Signals spotted a horizontal drill at the highly militarized drill site next to the Missouri River.

This sighting comes two days after the Army Corps statement made on Nov. 14. The Army Corps alerted Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that "Construction on, or under the corps land bordering Lake Oahe cannot occur because the Army has not made a final decision on where to grant an easement."

The following day, Nov. 15, a Unicorn Riot reporter spotted construction continuing despite the statement from the Army Corps.

The response from Dakota Access was to sue the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Army Corps of Engineers claiming all permits were granted. Despite the Army Corps statement that DAPL construction "cannot" continue, Dakota Access has moved in a horizontal drill and prepares to bore under the Missouri River at their highly fortified drill site.

Water protectors continue to gather in prayerful resistance at Oceti Sakowin against the Dakota Access Pipeline and prepare for the first winter storm of the season.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Unicorn Riot.

As water protectors dig in for the winter near construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), many rumors have been circulating about whether DAPL was in fact going to halt construction, as had been requested by the Department of Justice and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in September.

Many claims have been made that the Army Corps of Engineers, in negotiations with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, had ordered a 30-day pause on DAPL construction. As we reported on Sunday, the Army Corps has in fact clarified that the 30-day halt was "only a proposal" and no work stoppage has been implemented.

On Nov. 7, Unicorn Riot documented active DAPL construction that could be seen from the main Oceti Sakowin encampment.

The afternoon of Nov. 8, as the U.S. presidential election was well underway, Dakota Access, LLC released a statement denying recent claims from the Army Corps of Engineers that they had agreed to a slowdown in pipeline construction.

Dakota Access also claims a public statement made by the Army Corps was "a mistake and the Army Corps intends to rescind it."

Dakota Access, LLC had previously made a statement announcing that eviction would take place of the Oceti Sakowin 1851 treaty camp which had been set up directly in the path of the pipeline.

The appearance of Dakota Access making public statements which accurately predicted police actions was denounced in an article by Sarah Lazare at Alternet as "clear evidence" of "outrageous militarized police collusion with Big Oil."

The statement by Dakota Access, LLC goes on to claim that they have "completed construction of the pipeline on each side of Lake Oahe" and states that they are "currently mobilizing horizontal drilling equipment to the drill box site."

Below you can see drone footage of Dakota Access machines building Hesco barriers, normally used to protect U.S. military bases in war zones like Iraq or Afghanistan, to protect an area believed to be the drill box site from water protectors.

According to the release, Dakota Access expects to have fully mobilized all equipment needed to drill under the Missouri River within 2 weeks. Once all the equipment is in place at the construction site, Dakota Access plans to immediately commence horizontal drilling underneath the river.

Dakota Access, LLC closes their statement by admitting their company is still waiting on two construction permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to start the process of drilling underneath the Missouri River.

Below is the full public statement by Dakota Access, LLC.

The Dakota Access, LLC statement is reported to be in response to a comment given to Bloomberg News on Monday, in which an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman claimed that DAPL had agreed to slow down construction.

In an interview with NowThis on Nov. 2, when asked about the Dakota Access Pipeline, President Obama said "We're gonna let it play out for several more weeks."

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine mentioned in a recent interview the possibility of re-routing the pipeline, which Dakota Access now seems to have repudiated as a possible outcome. DAPL spokeswoman Vicki Granado told the Guardian:

"We are not aware that any consideration is being given to a reroute, and we remain confident we will receive our easement in a timely fashion."
—Vicki Granado, DAPL spokesperson

Jan Hasselman, attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, reacted to DAPL's plan to openly pursue drilling:

"Starting construction without permits would be beyond the pale, even for Dakota Access. It is deeply irresponsible to keep putting investors' money into this route when both the President and Senator Tim Kaine are openly discussing rerouting away from Lake Oahe."
—Jan Hasselman, Attorney

Tuesday's comments from Dakota Access appear intended to reassure investors who may be starting to have doubts about funding the pipeline project. It was reported earlier this week that Norweigan bank DNB was considering withdrawing its loan of $342.36 million to Energy Transfer Partners—almost 10 percent of the total funding for the pipeline.

DNB issued a statement on their website expressing concern:

"DNB is concerned about how the situation surrounding the oil pipeline in North Dakota has developed. The bank will therefore use its position as lender to the project to encourage a more constructive process to find solutions to the conflict that has arisen. If these initiatives do not provide DNB with the necessary comfort, DNB will evaluate its further participation in the financing of the project."

On Tuesday, it was announced that the North Dakota Public Service Commission has proposed fining Dakota Access, LLC $15,000 for failing to properly notify state agencies of ancient cultural artifacts discovered at pipeline work sites. Dakota Access is alleged to have violated the terms of its permits by not properly announcing artifact discoveries, as well as by changing the pipeline route without seeking the permission of the Public Service Commission.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Unicorn Riot.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Since last Thursday's violent police raid, which established a militarized zone around Dakota Access Pipeline construction areas, the Morton County Sheriff and supporting agencies have fanned out into the area surrounding the Oceti Sakowin camp.

Groups of police vehicles have parked in several areas to monitor the activity at the camp. One such area is a hill behind the main resistance camp, directly across part of the Cannonball river, known as Cantapeta Creek.

The original people of the area describe this hill as a sacred site, one that contains ancient burial grounds, which police are desecrating by parking their vehicles on it.

On Wednesday morning, a group of water protectors attempted to cross the Cannonball to establish a prayer camp on the sacred hill near Cantapeta Creek. They built a wooden footbridge so that people could cross the water.

Law enforcement responded to the footbridge by firing less-lethal projectiles at people attempting to cross. SWAT officers in a boat tore the footbridge away with rope.

Several people, including a journalist, said they were shot in the back by police with less-lethal rounds at point blank range.

Medics reported that some of these individuals were coughing up blood from internal bleeding.

After the footbridge was broken up by police, people remained in the water on the shore of the sacred site.

Morton County Sheriff, North Dakota Highway Patrol and unidentified out-of-state law enforcement personnel repeatedly used chemical weapons (pepper spray, OC gas and what we believe was a concussion grenade) on the water protectors who simply stayed standing or sitting in the river.

A boat with several heavily armed SWAT officers repeatedly tried to maneuver behind the group of water protectors near the shore. Water protectors used logs and rope to prevent their advance, and ferried people and supplies back and forth across the water using rope lines attached to canoes.

Law enforcement who were occupying the sacred site repeatedly threatened water protectors with arrest and said that the Army Corps of Engineers had authorized them to make arrests on Army Corps land.

Unicorn Riot has reached out to both the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Justice to confirm or deny this claim by Morton County and as of yet have received no answer.

Eventually, all the water protectors returned to the Oceti Sakowin camp side of the river without arrest. One person was later reported to have been arrested on conspiracy charges for transporting canoes around the time of the river crossing.

On Tuesday, when asked about the Dakota Access Pipeline, President Obama said in an interview with Now This, that, "We're gonna let it play out for several more few weeks" and mentioned that the Army Corps of Engineers may consider re-routing the pipeline.

In the meantime, the Dakota Access Pipeline continues to aggressively build, guarded by large force of private mercenaries as well as local and state police, including dozens from surrounding states.

On Tuesday, an emergency commission met in the office of North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple and voted to borrow an additional $4 million to fund law enforcement deployments to protect the Dakota Access Pipeline against water protectors, saying that the original $6 million in funding had run out. This brings the total line of credit extended to the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services to $10 million. Officials say at least $8 million in costs have been incurred so far.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Unicorn Riot.

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