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Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company building the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline, says it plans to resume work immediately after getting permission from the US Army.

ETP said the remaining work on Dakota pipeline would take about three months to complete.

The $3.8 billion project had stalled for months due to opposition from Native American protesters.

According to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the pipeline could endanger its drinking water and desecrate sacred sites.

The final section of the project is a crossing under Lake Oahe that would carry North Dakota oil through the pipeline to Illinois.

The Army had begun further study of the river crossing after contamination fears raised by the Standing Rock tribe, but it notified Congress on February 7 that it would stop the study and grant ETP permission to continue work.

The decision came after Donald Trump formally backed the project last month in one of his first executive orders as president.

Image source Flickr

Thousands of predominantly Native American protesters have boycotted the pipeline’s construction in the state of North Dakota.

The 1,172 mile, four-state project is almost finished except for the one-mile stretch under Lake Oahe, where demonstrators have set up protest encampments.

The Obama administration announced in September 2016 that it would not allow the project to proceed, but Donald Trump overturned the decision.

The Army’s statement on February 7 said: “The Department of the Army announced today that it has completed a presidential-directed review of the remaining easement request for the Dakota Access pipeline, and has notified Congress that it intends to grant an easement.”

An easement is a special permit that allows a company to cross private land. North Dakota’s two senators welcomed the Army’s announcement.

Standing Rock Sioux lawyers said approval of the project cannot be “legally granted at this time”.

Environmental groups, including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity have criticized the decision and vowed to fight the pipeline.

They accused the Trump administration of putting corporate profits ahead of Native Americans and the environment.

Nearly 700 people have been arrested since protests first began in 2016, according to law enforcement officials.

Just last week 76 protesters were arrested after refusing to leave land owned by the energy company.

Daryl Hannah was arrested in northeast Texas on Thursday, along with a 78-year-old landowner as the pair protested an oil pipeline designed to bring crude from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Daryl Hannah and landowner Eleanor Fairchild were standing in front of heavy equipment in an attempt to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Fairchild’s farm in Winnsboro, a town about 100 miles east of Dallas.

They were arrested for criminal trespassing and taken to the Wood County Jail, said Paul Bassis, Daryl Hannah’s manager.

“They’ve arrested Daryl Hannah and a rural Texas great-grandmother,” he added.

Daryl Hannah has long opposed TransCanada’s construction of the $7 billion pipeline, which is designed to transport heavy tar-sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas’ Gulf Coast refineries.

“It is unfortunate Ms. Hannah and other out-of-state activists have chosen to break the law by illegally trespassing on private property,” David Dodson, a spokesman for TransCanada, said in an email. He also said protesters were “putting their own safety and the safety of others at risk”.

Paul Bassis said he spoke to the actress on Thursday evening and that there was ‘a strong indication’ that both women would be kept overnight at the local jail.

“The streets of Winnsboro will be much safer tonight now that they’ve gotten that 78-year-old great grandmother off the streets,” Paul Bassis said.

Daryl Hannah – who has starred in dozens of movies, including Kill Bill, Thelma and Louise and Splash – also was arrested in August 2011 while protesting the pipeline in Washington. She was one of several hundred prominent scientists and activists arrested that month.

They argue the pipeline would be unsafe because it would be carrying heavy, acidic crude oil that could more easily corrode a metal pipe, which would lead to a spill. They also say refining the oil would further contaminate the air in a region that has long struggled with pollution.

TransCanada says its pipeline would be the safest ever built, and that the crude is no dirtier than oil currently arriving from Venezuela or parts of California.

The issue became politically charged when congressional Republicans gave President Barack Obama 60 days to decide whether TransCanada should be granted the necessary permit for the pipeline to cross an international border before snaking its way 1,700 miles south to the Texas coast.

Barack Obama, saying his administration did not have enough time to study the potential environmental impacts, denied the permit in January.

However, he encouraged TransCanada to reroute the northern portion of the pipeline to avoid an environmentally sensitive area of Nebraska. He also promised to expedite permitting of a southern portion of the pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf Coast to relieve a bottleneck at the Cushing refinery.

TransCanada began construction of that portion of the pipeline this summer after receiving the necessary permits. Some Texas landowners, joined by activists from outside the state, have tried through various protests to stop or slow down construction.