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Energy Transfer says not slowing construction of North Dakota pipeline

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Energy Transfer Partners LP on Tuesday said it was not slowing down construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota that is contested by environmentalists and Native Americans groups.

The owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Tuesday said it was moving equipment to prepare for tunneling under Lake Oahe, the water source that has been a focus of protests, even as federal regulators have not given a go-ahead signal that the line will be able to proceed.

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Army Corps spokesman Thomas O’Hara told Bloomberg News on Monday that the company had agreed to slow down construction, a statement Energy Transfer refuted.

“The statement released last night by the Army Corps was a mistake and the Army Corps intends to rescind it,” Energy Transfer said in a statement released on Tuesday. “To be clear, Dakota Access Pipeline has not voluntarily agreed to halt construction of the pipeline in North Dakota.”

The Army Corps of Engineers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Construction on part of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline was halted in September following protests from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others, who said the line would desecrate sacred grounds and a spill could contaminate drinking water.

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President Barack Obama last week said the U.S. government was looking at ways to reroute the pipeline.

The continued construction comes amid mounting pressure from activists on banks financing the pipeline to pull their support.

Citigroup Inc on Tuesday said it had discussed its concerns with Energy Transfer Partners and urged it to reach a resolution with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

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Norwegian bank DNB this week said that it would reconsider its participation in the financing of the pipeline if concerns raised by Native American tribes are not addressed.

“It’s clearly causing a lot of public concern and this is really a challenge to the reputation of the banks involved in this loan and how they stand on human rights and indigenous rights,” said Amanda Starbuck of Rainforest Action Network, an environmental group that opposes the line.

Energy Transfer said it was confident that it will receive an easement from the Army Corps for two strips of land adjacent to Lake Oahe, and expects no significant delays in its plans to drill under the lake.

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The company said also construction of the pipeline is complete on each side of Lake Oahe.

The 1,172-mile (1,885 km) pipeline would deliver oil from the Bakken shale of North Dakota to markets in the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast.

(Reporting by Liz Hampton in Houston; additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Russia and China blast US missile test

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Russia and China warned Tuesday that a new US missile test had heightened military tensions and risked sparking an arms race, weeks after Washington ripped up a Cold War-era weapons pact with Moscow.

The US and Russia ditched the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty this month after accusing each other of violating the accord.

Washington said the agreement also tied its hands in dealing with other powers such as China.

The US Department of Defense announced on Monday it had tested a type of ground-launched missile that was banned under the 1987 INF agreement, which limited the use of nuclear and conventional medium-range weapons.

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Leaked audio shows oil lobbyist bragging about success in criminalizing pipeline protests

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"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Derrick Morgan of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers

As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.

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Trump’s latest attempt to smear Scaramucci dunked in mockery

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At least one White House or campaign staffer apparently helped President Donald Trump attack his short-lived communications director Anthony Scaramucci -- and he was met with mockery.

The president tweeted out a supercut video late Monday of Scaramucci defending Trump before his recent public disavowal, and attacked his former staffer as a "dope" who's seeking fame.

Nobody ever heard of this dope until he met me. He only lasted 11 days! pic.twitter.com/RzX3zjXzga

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2019

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