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U.S. could grant final permit for Dakota pipeline as soon as Friday

A police barricade stands on Backwater Bridge north of the Dakota Access oil pipeline protest camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

The U.S. Army secretary could make a decision on the final permit needed to complete the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline as soon as Friday, the government’s lawyer told a Washington, D.C., court on Monday.

The Army Corp of Engineers told the court it has submitted its recommendation to Robert Speer, the acting secretary of the Army, on whether it needs to complete a full environmental review before it can grant the final permit allowing work to start on a contested tunnel under a lake. The review was requested in December by former President Barack Obama.

Opponents argue that letting the pipeline cross under Lake Oahe, a reservoir that is the water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, would damage sacred lands and could leak oil into the tribe’s water supply.

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