Hundreds gather for DC protest against Dakota Access Pipeline

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) Hundreds marched to the White House on Tuesday to protest the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline, as part of a wider day of action.

Sen. Bernie Sanders called on President Obama to take action against the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline during the protest.

"We cannot allow our drinking water to be poisoned so that a handful of fossil fuel companies can make even more in profits," the former Democratic presidential candidate said.

The protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline are continuing to draw international attention.

"What this means to me is my very livelihood," said Jasilyn Charger, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

Charger says the last week has been an emotional roller coaster, with a federal judge rejecting the Standing Rock Sioux's request for a preliminary injunction, then later Friday the Army and Department of Justice announcing they would stop pipeline work temporarily.

"The Obama Administration actually asked, politely asked Dakota Access to voluntarily halt construction," Charger explained. "This means they can continue construction whenever they want and they have this morning, they continued construction."

The rally in front of the White House is one of hundreds across the country calling for an end to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners sent out an internal memo to employees on Tuesday, reasserting its support of the pipeline project.

The letter, offering a spirited defense of the project said, "We intend to meet with officials in Washington to understand their position and reiterate our commitment to bring the Dakota Access Pipeline into operation."

The letter also says the company will "work to communicate with the government and media more clearly in the days to come."

The company did not clarify if it would voluntarily halt construction.

"We need to get a solution. We need to resolve this," said Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND).

Hoeven says he's concerned about the Justice Department stepping into the matter.

"It's unprecedented," Sen. Hoeven said. "If they are going to provide a solution in a timely way that works, that's one thing. But if not they need to respect the law."

After Friday's decision, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) says she's also looking for answers.

"My reaction was that now we have more unanswered questions that we need to get answers to," Sen. Heitkamp said. "I think it's incumbent on us to better understand what the tribal concerns are and understand how the corps is going to address those concerns and how we can move forward."

Both Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp have said they intend to meet with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Among questions still unanswered on Tuesday, it is still unknown how long the government intends its shutdown order to remain in place.

To read the document from Energy Transfer Partners, look for a link in the top right corner of this webpage.

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