Police say they are poised to clear oil pipeline protesters in N.D.

CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) — Law enforcement officials said today they are poised to remove about 200 protesters trying to halt the completion of the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota after the demonstrators refused to leave private land owned by the pipeline company.

Officers with county sheriff's offices, the state Highway Patrol and the National Guard asked protesters to move off the site this morning and were rebuffed. The authorities then left.

Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney later told reporters that authorities don't want a confrontation but that protesters "are not willing to bend."

"We have the resources. We could go down there at any time," he said. "We're trying not to."

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said authorities would continue to try for a peaceful resolution but that "we are here to enforce the law as needed."

Protesters vowed to stay put. "We're going to hold this ground," said Mekasi Camp Horinek. About 200 activists moved onto the site last weekend to fight the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline, which they fear could harm cultural sites and drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Energy Transfer Partners, which is building the $3.8 billion pipeline, said Tuesday the protesters were trespassing and that "lawless behavior will not be tolerated."