Posted: 02 Nov, 2016

CANNON BALL, N.D. – Officers in riot gear used pepper spray on Wednesday in more clashes with protesters near the Dakota Access pipeline. The confrontation followed North Dakota regulators criticism of the pipeline company for failing to immediately report the discovery of American Indian artefacts and a day after President Obama threatened future reroutes to address tribal concerns.

The panel could levy fines of up to $200,000 on Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners for delaying 10 days before reporting a discovery of stone cairns and other artefacts, though Public Service Commission Chairwoman Julie Fedorchak said such a high fine is unlikely.

On Wednesday afternoon, protesters tried to build a wooden pedestrian bridge across a creek to enter the property, then attempted to swim or boat across when officers dismantled the bridge, Morton County Sheriff's spokeswoman Donnell Hushka said. Two arrests were reported.

About 140 people were arrested on the property last week in a law enforcement operation that cleared the encampment.

The potential for damage to American Indian sites and artefacts has been a flashpoint in a protracted protest over the pipeline, which will carry crude from western North Dakota almost 1,200 miles to a shipping point in Patoka, Illinois. The Standing Rock Sioux, whose reservation lies near the pipeline route, have led a protest over that issue and the pipeline's potential hazard to drinking water.

The pipeline is largely completely outside of North Dakota. The federal government in September ordered a temporary halt to construction on corps land around and underneath Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir in the Dakotas. The corps is reviewing its permitting of the project but has given no timetable for a decision.

Source: Associated Press