Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., also issued a statement late Tuesday saying he was informed the easement would be granted and "Congressional notification is imminent". Representatives from the Army Corps and the pipeline's owner, Energy Transfer Partners, could not confirm or deny the order when reached by the Washington Post.
Law enforcement has moved to push back as many as 400 protesters from the new site, most recently named the Lost Child Camp, according to Dallas Goldtooth, campaign organizer of the Indigenous Environmental Network. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lacks statutory authority to issue the easement because it has committed to the EIS process.
The Standing Sioux Rock tribe, the group at the center of the standoff over the pipeline, said it was disappointed, but not surprised, by the decision. Cramer said that congress will be made aware of the decision imminently. Hoeven released the statement after meeting with Speer and Vice President Mike Pence. In addition, the Native American tribe has expressed well-founded fears that the excavation for the pipeline is damaging and will continue to destroy ancient sacred sites. In one instance, protesters were hosed down in sub-freezing temperatures resulting in multiple people requiring treatment for hypothermia and other temperature-related injuries.
Shortly after Trump's order, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said his move to revive the construction of the oil project was meant as political payback to the billionaires benefiting from the project who supported his bid for the presidency.
Members of the tribe did not have an immediate statement Tuesday night, but have repeatedly called on President Trump to respect their treaty rights and stick with the Environmental Impact Statement the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had said it would grant in the waning days of the Obama administration. Workers have already drilled entry and exit holes for the Oahe crossing, and the company has put oil in the pipeline leading up to the lake in anticipation of finishing the project, its executive vice president Joey Mahmoud said in court documents filed earlier this month.
The pipeline has been the target of months of protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux, whose reservation lies near the pipeline's route and who have argued that it's a threat to water.