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Feds say they won’t evict sprawling pipeline protest camp

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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 (Getty Images)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The sprawling encampment that’s a protest against the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline has most everything it needs to be self-sustaining — except a federal permit to be there.

The camp near the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers in North Dakota is on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land. But the agency says it won’t evict the protesters due to free speech reasons.

Ranchers and farmers in the area are wary of the scores of protesters who’ve come to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s fight and are fearful for their families and their property. Many have begun locking their doors and carrying firearms.

Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer says the camp is illegal and blames the Corps for looking the other way.