In this week's news, protests continue over the Dakota Access oil pipeline as the company now files a lawsuit against the protesters, and the oil rig count jumped up by 17 last week

Developers of a $3.8 billion, four-state oil pipeline sued in federal court Aug. 15 to stop protesters near an American Indian reservation in North Dakota from interfering with the project, saying the safety of workers and law enforcement is at risk.

Dakota Access filed a lawsuit against Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault II and other protesters, seeking restraining orders and unspecified monetary damages.

The protesters “have created and will continue to create a risk of bodily injury and harm to Dakota Access employees and contractors, as well as to law enforcement personnel and other individuals at the construction site,” the company says in court papers.

Related: GOM Pipelines: Coal Production Down; Refinery Runs To Hit Record High

Archambault was one of several protesters charged last week with disorderly conduct or criminal trespass at the construction site last week.

Also in recent days, Divergent star Shailene Woodley began posting videos and photos about her work with Standing Rock Indian Reservation activists to prevent construction of the pipeline. She marched with a group on Aug. 5 to deliver to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a petition signed by more than 150,000, calling for the government to halt the pipeline.

Rig Count Rises by 17

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The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 17 last week to 481, according to data released by oilfield services company Baker Hughes on Aug. 12.

The Houston-based company says that 396 rigs sought oil and 83 explored for natural gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, 884 rigs were active.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained 13 rigs and Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio and Utah were up one each.

Related: Blog: Gas and Oil Fuel North Dakota’s Rise

California declined by one.

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