BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A spokesman says the U.S. Army has begun its review of an easement that is necessary to complete the proposed Dakota Access oil pipeline.
Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost says the Army is following the steps outlined in President Donald Trump's order earlier this month for a fast review of requests to approve the pipeline.
Frost cautions that the steps don't mean the easement has been approved.
The easement is necessary for the pipeline developer, Energy Transfer Partners, to complete the last unfinished section of the pipeline under North Dakota's Lake Oahe.
The pipeline has been the target of months of protests from the Standing Rock Sioux, whose reservation lies near the route, and thousands of supporters from around the country who argue it's a threat to water supplies
Most of the protestors have left the camp south of Mandan. The tribe reports they left behind abandoned vehicles, tents and temporary structures, along with tons of trash on the flood-prone site.