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Dakota Access criminal cases wrapping up in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Hundreds of state-level criminal cases stemming from the prolonged protest in North Dakota against the Dakota Access oil pipeline are mostly wrapped up, and an organization of volunteer attorneys that formed to aid protesters is shifting its focus to other potential battles, including the Keystone XL pipeline and President Donald Trump’s southern border wall.

“Whenever the next struggle heats up and takes off, then we will swell our ranks to meet the demand,” said Frances Madeson, spokeswoman for the Water Protector Legal Collective . “Water protector” is what many pipeline opponents called themselves because they fear a spill could contaminate water supplies.

Thousands of Native Americans and others who feared environmental harm from the $3.8 billion pipeline built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners came to southern North Dakota in 2016 and 2017 to protest, resulting in hundreds of arrests over a six-month span and nearly 850 criminal cases in state court.

Read the remainder of Blake Nicholson’s article for AP here.

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