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Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. — A state judge has refused to delay the release of thousands of documents related to security during the construction in North Dakota of the heavily protested Dakota Access Pipeline.

South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland in late December ruled that the documents are public. Attorneys for pipeline developer Energy Transfer asked Feland to put on hold disclosure of the records as it appeals to the state Supreme Court.

Feland on Friday gave Energy Transfer the go-ahead to appeal, but she rejected the request to delay release of the records, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

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The documents are being held by the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board, which obtained them during a case involving TigerSwan, the company that Energy Transfer hired to oversee security during construction.

In this Oct. 5, 2016, file photo, heavy equipment is seen at a site where sections of the Dakota Access pipeline were being buried near the town of St. Anthony in Morton County, N.D. The Texas-based developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline says it has complied with terms of a 2017 agreement settling allegations it violated North Dakota rules during construction, though state regulators are seeking more information. Energy Transfer Partners was accused of removing too many trees and improperly handling a pipeline route change after discovering Native American artifacts. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)

Energy Transfer subsidiary Dakota Access is attempting to intervene in the administrative case involving TigerSwan and the board. It focused on whether TigerSwan operated illegally in the state in 2016 and 2017, when thousands of pipeline protesters gathered in North Dakota and law enforcement made hundreds of arrests.

The administrative case culminated with a settlement in 2020 under which TigerSwan agreed to pay $175,000 to the board but did not admit to any wrongdoing.

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