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Drilling resumes on Dakota pipeline despite tribe’s legal challenge

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The company building an oil pipeline that has been subject to sustained public protests said on Thursday it has resumed drilling beneath a North Dakota lake despite a last-ditch legal challenge from a Native American tribe leading the opposition.

Energy Transfer Partners LP is building the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to move crude from the Northern Plains to the Gulf of Mexico. The project was put on hold under the administration of former Democratic President Barack Obama, but new President Donald Trump, a Republican, helped put it back on track.

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The federal government this week cleared way for the project to resume, leading the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to file a court challenge on Thursday seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the 1,170-mile (1,885-km) pipeline.

But Energy Transfer Partners said it has begun drilling under Lake Oahe, which is part of the Missouri River system. It expects the Dakota Access Pipeline to begin service in approximately 83 days, according to a company spokeswoman.

Drilling under Lake Oahe will be completed in 60 days, and the company will require another 23 days to fill the pipeline to Patoka, Illinois, the spokeswoman said.

Native American tribes and climate activists have vowed to fight the pipeline, fearing it will desecrate sacred sites and endanger a source of the country’s largest drinking water reservoir.

Public opposition has drawn thousands of people to the North Dakota plains, including high-profile political and celebrity supporters. Large protest camps popped up near the site, leading to several violent clashes and some 600 arrests.

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Supporters say the pipeline will be a safer mode of transportation for the oil than rail or trucks.

“This administration (Trump’s) has expressed utter and complete disregard for not only our treaty and water rights, but the environment as a whole,” the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said Thursday in a statement on its website.

Legal experts have said the tribe faces long odds in convincing any court to halt work on the pipeline.

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To obtain the temporary retraining order, the tribe must convince the judge there will be immediate harm suffered and prove that it has a strong overall case should its suit to halt the project completely go o trial.

(Additional reporting by Daniel Wallis in New York; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Matthew Lewis)

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Here’s why Republican impeachment theatrics — as buffoonish as they are — serve a purpose for the GOP

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Liberal and progressive pundits — and some Never Trump conservatives as well — have been highly critical of the silly, buffoonish theatrics that Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rep. Devin Nunes of California and other far-right House Republicans brought to the first public testimony in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. But then, Jordan and Nunes weren’t trying to win over liberals, progressives or anti-Trump conservatives on Wednesday, November 13, when they aggressively attacked the testimony of two diplomats: Ambassador William B. Taylor (top U.S. ambassador to Ukraine) and the U.S. State Department’s George P. Kent (deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs). They were playing to Trump’s hardcore MAGA base, pushing emotional buttons rather than relying on substance.

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Trump Jr. whines after the New York Times exposes bulk-buying scheme for his ‘bestselling’ book

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Donald Trump Jr. on Friday complained to the hosts of "Fox & Friends" that the New York Times had placed a "deadly dagger" next to sales of his new book "Triggered" that indicates it was boosted by a significant bulk-buying campaign.

The New York Times says its policy is to make note of books that are helped by "institutional, special interest, group or bulk purchases" and it says that "such bulk purchases appear with a dagger (†)" on its bestseller list.

Appearing on Fox News, Trump Jr. whined that the paper does that "to a lot of conservative books" and suggested he was being unfairly targeted for his political beliefs.

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Fox News creates an alternative reality and portrays impeachment hearings as a Trump victory over hapless nerds

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There was a lot of talk on Thursday about the theater criticism of the impeachment hearings coming from some quarters of the mainstream media. Press Watch's Dan Froomkin wrote a must-read piece here at Salon taking them to task for trivializing the event and creating the impression among many people who didn't watch the live testimony that it was boring and worthless. This is another example of the media's insatiable need for drama, explaining once again how Donald Trump, a carnival sideshow act if ever there was one, wound up in the White House.

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