The Latest: Governor orders evacuation of protest camp

Markets Associated Press

The Latest on the protest against the Dakota Access oil pipeline (all times local):

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5:30 p.m.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple is ordering an emergency evacuation of Dakota Access pipeline protesters who are camping on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land.

The Republican governor signed the order Monday because of what he calls "harsh winter conditions." The order didn't say what action would be taken for protesters who don't comply, and a spokesman for Dalrymple didn't immediately respond to calls and an email from The Associated Press.

The governor's order says the unpermitted camp sites are not zoned for housing suitable for living in winter conditions.

Hundreds of people have been gathered at the encampment for months to oppose the four-state, $3.8 billion project, which they contend could affect drinking water and damage cultural sites. The Corps has ordered the protesters to leave federal land, but the Corps says it has no plans to forcibly remove anyone.

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2:10 p.m.

A government order for protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline to leave federal land could have little immediate effect on the encampment where hundreds of people have been gathered for months to oppose the $3.8 billion project.

A North Dakota sheriff says the deadline is meaningless and serves only to reduce the government's legal responsibility for demonstrators.

The Corps says all federal lands north of the Cannonball River will be closed for "safety concerns" starting Dec. 5. The order includes the large encampment known as the Seven Council Fires camp.

The agency cited the approach of winter and increasingly contentious clashes between protesters and police.

But the Corps says it has no plans to forcibly remove anyone. Violators could be prosecuted for trespassing.