Energy Transfer, the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline, is reportedly preparing to start construction on the final stretch of the $3.7 billion pipeline.

According to Reuters, Energy Transfer is moving equipment to prepare for tunneling under Lake Oahe although federal regulators have not yet given the company the green light to start construction work.

The pipeline operator also refuted a comment reportedly given by Army Corps spokesman Thomas O’Hara to Bloomberg News saying that the company had agreed to slow construction on the line.

Energy Transfer told Reuters that the Army Corps statement was a “mistake” and the Corps “intends to rescind it.”

The Army Corps has not commented on the matter yet.

The company added that it has not voluntary agreed to halt construction work along the pipeline’s North Dakota route.

In September, the Corps asked Energy Transfer to voluntarily halt all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.

The U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Interior and the Department of the Army halted construction of the pipeline on Army Corps of Engineers land bordering or under Lake Oahe in September following push back from Native American groups.

Lake Oahe straddles the border between North Dakota and South Dakota.

The order to halt construction was issued following a legal challenge to the project mounted by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The tribe filed a lawsuit against the Corps earlier this year, claiming the Corps violated historic preservation and environmental laws when it approved the project.

The Army Corps reiterated its request that Energy Transfer continue to pause construction after a U.S. federal judge found that the tribe did not adequately show that work related to the project is “likely to cause damage.”

“The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution,” the Department of the Army said in the joint statement following the ruling.

The 1,172-mile pipeline will stretch from North Dakota to Illinois and is scheduled to be online in late 2016.


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