Thanksgiving meal set for pipeline protesters in North Dakota

Protesters against the Dakota Access oil pipeline congregate Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, on a long-closed bridge on a state highway near Cannon Ball., N.D. near their camp in southern North Dakota. The bridge was the site of the latest skirmish between protesters and law officers late Sunday in which officers used tear gas, rubber bullets and water hoses. (AP Photo/James MacPherson)
Protesters against the Dakota Access oil pipeline congregate Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, on a long-closed bridge on a state highway near Cannon Ball., N.D. near their camp in southern North Dakota. The bridge was the site of the latest skirmish between protesters and law officers late Sunday in which officers used tear gas, rubber bullets and water hoses. (AP Photo/James MacPherson)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) —  An estimated 75 people from around the country are planning to serve Thanksgiving dinner to about 2,000 protesters who are demonstrating against the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota.

The group is to include actress-activists Jane Fonda and Shailene Woodley. The meal is set for late Thursday afternoon at a school in Fort Yates, which is near a camp where hundreds of protesters have gathered for months.

Fort Yates is on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The tribe opposes the $3.8 billion pipeline that will skirt its reservation as it carries North Dakota oil to a shipping point in Illinois.

Opponents fear the pipeline will harm drinking water and Native American cultural sites. Pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners disputes that and says the pipeline will be safe.

North Dakota’s governor and congressional delegation are pressuring President Barack Obama to pave the way for completion of the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple, U.S. Sen. John Hoeven and U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer sent a letter Wednesday to Obama imploring him to authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to approve the pipeline’s crossing under the Missouri River in North Dakota.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Heidi Heitkamp says she also pressed the White House this week to intervene.

The crossing is the final large segment of the $3.8 billion pipeline, which will carry North Dakota oil to Illinois. The work is delayed while the Corps consults with the Standing Rock Sioux, who oppose the project.

Obama raised the possibility of rerouting the pipeline earlier this month.

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