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Judge drops temporary restraining order against tribal leaders

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Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault
File photo: Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault spoke to the media on Sept. 8, 2016.
Christopher Mark Juhn | MPR File

A federal judge in Bismarck has dropped a temporary restraining order against Standing Rock Sioux tribal leaders who were sued by the company developing the four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Dakota Access LLC filed the complaint last month against Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault II and others from interfering with pipeline construction north of the Standing Rock reservation.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland ruled Friday that a previous restraining order was "simply an 'obey-the-law' injunction" and he expects the tribal leaders to protest lawfully.

Hovland noted that many of the "troublesome" protesters are "from out-of-state who have political interests in the pipeline protest and hidden agendas vastly different and far removed from the legitimate interests" of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which argues the pipeline could taint water sources and is decimating sacred sites.