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RAPID CITY, S.D. — A pair of people protesting the Keystone XL pipeline are facing criminal charges in South Dakota.

Construction on the long-disputed oil pipeline planned by Canada-based TC Energy halted in January as President Joe Biden revoked its permit on his first day in office, but a small group of protesters plan to maintain an encampment on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation nearby the pipeline route until all pipeline infrastructure is removed, the Rapid City Journal reported.

The protest group says the pipeline is being built on unceded treaty land and will cause environmental damage. However, residents of Philip, a nearby town, said they were disappointed the pipeline permit was canceled because it would have brought a temporary economic boost.

Two of the protesters, Oscar High Elk and Jasilyn Charger, face criminal charges from confrontations with law enforcement, TC Energy workers and local residents. Charger faces a misdemeanor charge for allegedly trespassing on property and attaching herself to a pump station last year.

High Elk, who had a preliminary hearing this week, faces an aggravated assault felony charge and 11 misdemeanors for several incidents last year. He plans to plead not guilty, calling them false charges that were brought to target him because of the protest.

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