Corps won’t forcibly remove protesters from federal land

TIn this Nov. 24, 2016 photo, people stand on the edge of Cantapeta Creek near the growing Sacred Stones Overflow Protest Camp in Morton County, N.D. (Tom Stromme/Bismarck Tribune via AP)
TIn this Nov. 24, 2016 photo, people stand on the edge of Cantapeta Creek near the growing Sacred Stones Overflow Protest Camp in Morton County, N.D. (Tom Stromme/Bismarck Tribune via AP)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it has “no plans for forcible removal” of protesters who have been camping in North Dakota to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The Corps says in a statement Sunday that it “is seeking a peaceful and orderly transition to a safer location.”

The Corps notified tribal leaders Friday that all federal lands north of the Cannonball River will be closed to public access Dec. 5 for “safety concerns.” The agency says those who choose to stay do so at their own risk. They say anyone on the property north of the Cannonball River after that date will be trespassing and subject to prosecution.

The land to be closed includes the main protest camp, about 50 miles south of Bismarck.