Report: Company purchases ranch near Dakota Access Pipeline protest site

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Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their supporters gather in a circle in the center of camp to hear speakers and singers, at a protest encampment near Cannon Ball, North Dakota where members of the tribe and their supporters have gathered to voice their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), September 3, 2016. Drive on a state highway along the Missouri River, amid the rolling hills and wide prairies of North Dakota, and you'll come across a makeshift camp of Native Americans -- united by a common cause. Members of some 200 tribes have gathered here, many raising tribal flags that flap in the unforgiving wind. Some have been here since April, their numbers fluctuating between hundreds and thousands, in an unprecedented show of joint resistance to the nearly 1,200 mile-long Dakota Access oil pipeline. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

BISMARCK, N.D. – It seems the situation between protesters and an oil pipeline company in North Dakota continues to progress.

The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline would transport crude oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa and into Illinois.

The underground pipeline would transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day, which would be sent to markets and refineries in the Midwest, East Coast and Gulf Coast regions, according to Energy Transfer Crude Oil Co.

However, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says the pipeline would come within a half-mile of their reservation and could disturb or destroy sacred historical sites.

Also, tribal leaders are concerned about the consequences the pipeline would have on their water supply.

According to NBC News, the company financing the $3.7 billion pipeline purchased roughly 9,000 acres of a privately owned ranch adjacent to the federal land that has been the site of protests for weeks.

The purchase includes 439 acres of leased federal land that is near the Oceti Sakowin Camp. In fact, officials say many protesters have occupied that part of the ranch’s land for weeks.

NBC News reports that the tribe had talked to the ranch’s owner about buying the land to preserve historic sites on that property.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed that the land had been purchased, but would not comment further. The price is not officially known, but sources believe the deal was around $18 million.

Last month, construction on part of the pipeline was stopped after the tribe sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On Sept. 16, a federal appeals court ruled to officially halt construction of the pipeline near the reservation so the court could have more time to assess the situation.

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