In this week's news, the Dakota Access Pipeline fight continues as several dozen environmental groups send letters to the president and the protest continues with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and after nine weeks of increases, the rig count declined by two last week

Nearly 36 environmental groups wrote to President Obama on Aug. 25, saying the Army Corps of Engineers approved the Dakota Access Pipeline project using a fast-track process, known as permit 12, that was inadequate given its size and the many sensitive areas it would cross.

The Corps of Engineers argued in court in Washington that the Standing Rock Sioux and other parties had ample time to express concerns during a review process and that the pipeline was properly approved. Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas company building it, says the pipeline will increase the nation’s energy independence and that it is a safer means of transport than crude oil.

Lawyers from Earthjustice are representing the Standing Rock Sioux in a legal effort to stop construction of the pipeline, according to the L.A. Times. The tribe claims the Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Historic Preservation Act when it approved the project and that a more stringent environmental review should be done. They say the pipeline and its construction would damage ancestral sites of the Standing Rock Sioux and put the tribe’s water supply at risk.

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Rig Count Falls for First Time in 9 Weeks

The number of rigs drilling for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped by two to 489 last week, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Aug. 25. It marks the first decline in nine weeks.

The Houston-based company says the number of rigs seeking oil remained at 406, while the number of rigs exploring for natural gas dropped by two to 81. Two rigs were listed as miscellaneous. Last year 877 rigs were active.

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Of the major oil-producing states, Pennsylvania had an increase of two rigs, while Wyoming added one. Declining by one each were Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia.

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