Dakota Access pipeline developer Energy Transfer said in a statement Tuesday that the protestors camped on the company-owned land in North Dakota are trespassing and must vacate the property immediately.
“Alternatively and in coordination with local law enforcement and county/state officials, all trespassers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and removed from the land,” the company wrote in the statement.
Energy Transfer recently purchased the private land in southern North Dakota, but protestors claim the land belongs to Native Americans under a treaty signed over a century ago.
Dozens of protestors on Monday moved their encampment to the private land, placing their camp directly in the pipeline’s path for the first time.
“We never ceded this land,” said protest organizer Joye Braun in a statement Monday.
The private land is located just a mile from the Missouri River. Pipeline crews have done preparation on the land, but no pipeline has been built there yet.