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Oil placed in final piece of Dakota Access pipeline

Crude oil has been placed in the Dakota Access pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, an Energy Transfer Partners LP subsidiary reported, as the pipeline prepares to enter service after a long battle.

The subsidiary, Dakota Access LLC, is "commissioning the full pipeline and is preparing to place the pipeline into service," Dakota Access attorneys said in a March 27 status filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The $3.8 billion pipeline will move oil from North Dakota's Bakken Shale to Illinois, traveling approximately 1,172 miles, where it would connect to another pipeline that would carry the crude supplies to Texas.

It has been a tortuous road to service for Dakota Access. The pipeline project was the target of months of protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes, leading to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Obama administration to deny an easement the project needed for its final piece, under Lake Oahe. In January, newly inaugurated President Donald Trump signed an executive memo calling on the corps to reconsider the easement. The corps then granted the easement Feb. 8.

While the regulatory shift was unfolding, Dakota Access was also facing lawsuits over the pipeline. In a short order delivered March 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's emergency motion for an injunction against Dakota Access. The court is still considering a motion by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia docket 1:16-cv-01534)