Tag Archive: Alexander Shuster


 

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A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the University of Southern California (USC) and a former gynecologist there, Dr. George Tyndall, who is accused of sexually harassing and molesting dozens, and potentially hundreds, of students during his nearly 30 years at the university.  The attorneys who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Tyndall’s accusers, wrote that USC “actively and deliberately concealed Tyndall’s sexual abuse for years.”  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of seven women who claim Tyndall used racist and inappropriately sexual language during consultations and conducted pelvic examinations with his fingers without gloves.

After an LA Times piece published in May exposed the allegations, the Los Angeles Police Department has launched an investigation into the allegations, USC president C.L. Max Nikias has resigned, and the rest of the university faculty has been scrambling to address the school’s shortcomings in regard to issues of sexual misconduct.

Tyndall had a history of allegedly inappropriately touching female students during gynecological examinations, making lewd comments about their bodies, and taking pictures of their genitals. USC acknowledged it had received complaints against Tyndall as early as 2000.  Authorities say school administrators received reports of sexual abuse during pelvic exams dating back to the early 1990s but failed to investigate these reports until 2016. The doctor wasn’t fired until 2017, when his colleagues discovered a box full of pictures of female genitalia in his office.

They finally parted ways with him last June, but only after the university conducted an internal investigation and found out about the ignored complaints.  University officials said the school reached a settlement with the doctor and did not report him to law enforcement or state medical authorities at the time.  Authorities say fifty-two former patients of a Tyndall, who treated thousands of women at the University of Southern California have reported they may have been victims of inappropriate and possibly criminal behavior.  Police estimate Dr. George Tyndall may have seen 10,000 patients and they think there could be more victims among women who were examined by him.

The 71-year-old reportedly admitted that his exams were “extremely thorough” but claimed he never did anything inappropriate. Several former co-workers spoke to the LA Times “They felt like they were violated,” explained one nurse, who spoke with at least five women in 2013 and 2014 who refused to be seen by Tyndall.  “They felt like he was inappropriately touching them, that it didn’t feel like a normal exam.”  Other co-workers claim he was improperly taking pictures of students’ genitals and making inappropriate remarks during pelvic exams.  Tyndall would often commend patients on their “flawless” and “creamy” skin, while also making comments about their bodies, the employees said.  A nurse recalls an exchange where she watched him compliment a student on her “perky breasts.”  “They stand right up there, don’t they?’” she recalled him telling the patient.

In 2013, eight different medical assistants who were in exam rooms during exams, voiced their concerns about Tyndall to long time nurse Cindy Gilbert, but nothing was done about his behavior.  Gilbert reported the complaints to then-executive director Dr. Lawrence Neinstein who instead chose to handle the situation “independently.”

 

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The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), arrested 114 undocumented immigrants working at an Ohio gardening business in one of its largest workplace raids in recent years.  Tuesday’s arrests targeted employees of Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in Sandusky and Castalia, Ohio.  Those arrested are expected to face criminal charges, including identity theft and tax evasion.

About 200 ICE personnel were involved in the operations, which began at 7 a.m. and continued late into the evening.  Agents surrounded the perimeter of the Castalia locations, blocking off nearby streets as helicopters flew overhead.  Search warrants were served at both locations without incident.  They arrested 114 workers suspected of being in the country illegally and loaded many onto buses bound for ICE detention facilities.

Khaalid Walls, spokesman for ICE’s Northeastern region, said the investigation into Corso’s began in October 2017 with the arrest of a suspected document vendor.  They reviewed 313 employee records and found that 123 were suspicious.  He added that the majority of those arrested were Mexican nationals and some individuals were processed and released for humanitarian reasons.

Authorities are pursuing a bevy of allegations against Corso’s, including allegations of harboring illegal aliens, unlawful employment of aliens, false impersonation of a US citizen, fraud and aggravated identity theft, Walls said.

Steve Francis, special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations said “We are attempting to identify what criminal network brought over 100 illegal aliens to Ohio to work.”  “If your business is operating legitimately, there’s nothing to fear.  If you are hiring illegal aliens as a business model, we will identify you, arrest you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

In October 2017, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan said he ordered the investigative unit of ICE to increase work site enforcement actions by as much as fivefold.  “We’ve already increased the number of inspections in work site operations, you will see that significantly increase this next fiscal year,” Homan said at the time.  Homan also said that those actions would target both the employers and the employees in violation of immigration law.  “Not only are we going to prosecute the employers that hire illegal workers, we’re going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers.  The aggressive efforts are meant to deter people from entering the country illegally and protect jobs for American workers.”

Corso’s employee Salma Sabala told news outlets that undercover officers showed up in an employee break room initially offering to give out Dunkin’ Donuts. Then, they started rounding up workers.  “ They’re armed. They had the dogs. We hear the helicopters on top of us,” Sabala said.  Videos captured by workers and reporters showed immigration agents putting employees in handcuffs and separating authorized U.S. residents from undocumented immigrants. No employees were seen fleeing.

The 114 people arrested were taken to detention facilities in St. Clair County, Michigan; Seneca County, Ohio; and the Youngstown, Ohio, area.  Families of the arrested workers gathered at St. Paul Catholic Church in Norwalk, Ohio, seeking answers as to the whereabouts of their loved ones.

 

 

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FEMA has ordered the evacuation of parts of a neighborhood on Hawaii’s Big Island as fast-moving lava from Kilauea volcano threatens to destroy more homes.  The volcano first erupted on May 3, 2018 and has destroyed over 100 houses.  Since the first eruption, 22 fissure vents have opened on the volcano’s East Rift Zone in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions.

Hawaii’s Highway 137 has been blocked by lava, cutting off access to Kapoho Bay, Vacationland, Hwy 132 and the Puna Geothermal power plant.  The flowing lava completely filled Kapoho Bay, inundated most of Vacationland and covered all but the northern part of Kapoho Beach Lots.  There are several hundred homes in these two subdivisions. Homes in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland are on smaller lots and are closer together than in other parts of the Puna district.

More than 2,500 local residents have been forced to evacuate the dangerous lava flows and toxic sulfur dioxide fumes that have consumed the neighborhoods.  Officials have warned residents of the threat of toxic gases, choking ash plumes, and volcanic glass falling from the sky.  When the sulfur dioxide from the fissures mix with sunlight and oxygen it forms a type of volcanic smog called “vog,” which can cause pneumonia and bronchitis-like symptoms.

Lava continues oozing from volcanic fissures, burning homes to the ground and turning into rivers of molten rock.  The lava from Kilauea has spread across 2,000 acres of land into the surrounding neighborhoods on Hawaii’s Big Island.  The rate of lava flow in the East Rift Zone has increased, advancing at rates up to 300 yards per hour.  Officials say flowing lava has reached the Pacific Ocean, creating a steam cloud of lava haze commonly called “laze”.  Laze is a mix of hydrochloric acid and fine glass particles.  The laze extends 15 miles west of the Big Island and can cause breathing issues and skin irritation.

On May 29, 2018, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported that an ash eruption at Kīlauea summit occurred overnight at around 2 am.  According to officials, the resulting ash plume reached 15,000 feet and the wind was blowing in the Northwest direction, sending ash fall out into the surrounding area.  A a 4.5 magnitude earthquake was also reported in the summit region of the Kīlauea Volcano at 1:56 a.m.  The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a statement saying that no tsunami was expected.

Hawaii Civil Defense Service officials said they went through the neighborhood to warn residents this was their last chance to evacuate before their final escape route was cut off by lava Some chose to stay in the area, which now has no power, cell reception, landlines or county water, officials said.  Authorities are planning to airlift people out if the lava spreads farther and endangers the dozen or so holdouts.  Hundreds of residents are now living in shelters and emergency tents as local residents provide food and supplies.

 

 

 

 

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NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room without penalty if they prefer.   The vote was made by team owners without involvement from the NFL Players Association.  The policy subjects teams to a fine if a player or any other team personnel do not show respect for the anthem. That includes any attempt to sit or kneel, as dozens of players have done during the past two seasons to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Those teams also will have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction.

The previous policy required players to be on the field for the anthem but only that they “should” stand. When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling in 2016 as a protest against racial injustice in the United States, the league had no rule it could use to prevent it.  The movement grew with other players kneeling and drew increasing criticism with many who believed it was a sign of disrespect toward the flag and country.  As the movement grew, the negative responses included suggestions that players who protest should be fired.

Others displayed their disapproval of players’ protests by leaving the stadium immediately after the protests or refusing to watch games at all.  Owners had been divided on how to extricate the league from criticism. Some owners, including the Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones and the Houston Texans’ Bob McNair, wanted all players to stand. Others, such as the New York Jets’ Christopher Johnson, wanted to avoid any appearance of muzzling players.  Some suggested clearing the field prior to the anthem but the idea was rejected by some owners who thought it would be interpreted as a mass protest or a sign of disrespect.

After spending months in discussions, and another three hours over two days at the leagues spring meetings, owners said they found a compromise that will end sitting or kneeling with an edict that stops short of requiring every player to stand.  In a statement accompanying the announcement, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league wanted to eliminate criticism that suggested the protests were unpatriotic.  “It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic,” Goodell said. “This is not and was never the case.”

Goodell added “All 32 clubs want to make sure that during the moment of the anthem and the flag,that that is a very important moment to all of us, as a league, as clubs, personally and to our country, and that’s a moment that we want to make sure is done in a very respectful fashion. And that, that was something that was very strongly held in the room.”

As for the man who started the movement, on March 3, 2017, Kaepernick officially opted out of his contract with the 49ers, becoming a free agent at the start of the 2017 league year.  Kaepernick went unsigned through the offseason and 2017 training camps, leading to allegations that he was being blackballed because of his on-field political actions as opposed to his performance.  Many players, including New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and former teammate Alex Smith, have stated that they believe his sporting ability is competitive in the NFL and they are incredulous of his prolonged unemployment.  Kaepernick and former 49ers safety Eric Reid have both filed collusion cases against the league after failing to find jobs as free agents.

 

 

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Eight members of the Milwaukee Police Department have been disciplined in connection with the arrest of the NBA player Sterling Brown, who in January was subdued with a stun gun over a parking violation.  The Milwaukee Police Department has apologized to Brown, after a newly released police body cam video showed Brown’s violent arrest on January 26. Brown, a 22-year-old rookie player on the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, was assaulted and arrested shortly after exiting a Walgreens store for parking in a disabled space.  The charges against him were later dropped

Footage of the arrest, was captured using a body camera worn by one of the officers, confirms that Brown was not “combative”—as police initially claimed.  However, it does show Brown being confronted by an officer for the parking violation.  The officer tells him to step back and keep his hands out of his pockets just before a group of officers tackled him to the ground and electrocuted him with a Taser.   Brown did not struggle with officers when tackled, tased or handcuffed.  In the video, Brown is shown surprisingly calm and never even raising his voice while standing with his hands cuffed behind his back as an officer says to him “Sorry I don’t follow the Bucks, I didn’t recognize you.  I didn’t recognize your famous name.”   Brown responds, “It isn’t famous, it’s legit.”  The officer then replies “I wanted to talk to you about it” and Brown responds “ You could’ve talked, you didn’t have to touch.”

Brown has since said he plans to file a lawsuit, writing in a statement, “What should have been a simple parking ticket turned into an attempt at police intimidation, followed by unlawful use of physical force, including being handcuffed and tazed and then unlawfully booked.  This experience with the Milwaukee Police Department has forced me to stand up and tell my story so that I can help prevent these injustices from happening in the future.”

He told “Good Morning America” that he aimed to hold “the officers accountable, hold future officers accountable.”  Brown said that his hands were behind his back at the time the stun gun was used and described becoming mad every time he watched the footage.  “I was defenseless, pretty much,” he said.  “This happens from coast to coast, you know, it’s something that’s being shown more now that technology has advanced,” he said. “It’s something that’s been happening for years, and people’s stories have not been told, and people’s stories have not been heard. And I feel like, you know, me doing this, it helps a lot.”

Speaking shortly after the release of the body cam footage, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said he was sorry the incident “escalated to this level”, declaring certain officers had “acted inappropriately” and had been disciplined. Three officers recieved unpaid suspensions, including a 15-day suspension for a police sergeant who has served for more than 11 years. Another sergeant, with 12 years of service, received a 10-day suspension. An officer with two and a half years on the force received a two-day suspension. Those officers and five others will receive policy review instruction and remedial training in professional communications.

 

 

 

 

kim jong un.jpgNorth Korea has abruptly cancelled high-level talks with South Korea and threatened to pull out of a planned summit with Donald Trump in protest of joint U.S.-South Korea military drills currently being staged on the peninsula.  The scheduled talks with South Korea were a follow-up to a rare summit that was held on April 27th.  Representatives had planned to discuss further details of the agreements they had made at the historic summit including ridding the peninsula of nuclear weapons and turning the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 into a peace treaty.

The North Korean state news agency called the U.S.-South Korea air force drills “deliberate military provocation.”  North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also directly criticized Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for saying North Korea could follow the so-called Libyan model for nuclear abandonment.  In a statement issued through the state news agency, Kim called Bolton’s idea an “awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers.”

A North Korean official said the country had no interest in a summit with US if it was based on “one-sided” demands to give up nuclear weapons, according to state media.  Citing first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Kye-gwan, North Korea’s central news agency said the fate of the US summit as well as bilateral relations “would be clear” if Washington speaks of a Libya-style denuclearization for the North.

The statement added Trump would remain as a “failed president” if he followed in the steps of his predecessors.  “We will appropriately respond to the Trump administration if it approaches the North Korea-US summit meeting with a truthful intent to improve relations,” Kim said. “But we are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner and making a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes and this would force us to reconsider whether we would accept the North Korea-US summit meeting.”

The joint U.S.-South Korea two-week military drills, known as Max Thunder, involve fighter jets and aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. North Korea has long claimed the drills are rehearsals for a military invasion.  In the past, they have threatened an “all-out offensive” in response to the exercises and condemned them as pouring “gasoline on fire”.  The “Max Thunder” drills involve 100 warplanes, including an unspecified number of B-52 bombers and F-15K jets.  The US and South Korea have insisted that that all drills are purely for defense purposes, and based out of a mutual defense agreement they signed in 1953.  They also say the exercises are necessary to strengthen their readiness in case of an external attack.

 

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Sacramento, California police have arrested 72-year-old former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo after obtaining DNA evidence that he is the “Golden State Killer,” a serial rapist and murderer who terrorized California in the 1970s and ’80s. The Golden State Killer is believed to be responsible for at least 12 murders, more than 50 rapes and a slew of burglaries and other crimes. In April 24, 2018, DeAngelo was arrested at his Citrus Heights area home in Sacramento, where his crime spree began over four decades earlier.
DeAngelo served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, before returning to the U.S. He worked as a police officer in Exeter from 1973 to1976. He then worked as a police officer in Auburn from 1976 until 1979, when he was fired for shoplifting. He committed crimes throughout the state and acquired various monikers in different regions before it was conclusively linked that all the crimes were committed by the same person.

Beginning as the Visalia Ransacker before later moving to the Sacramento area and becoming the East Area Rapist and East Bay Rapist and finally in Southern California as the Original Night Stalker. He is also less frequently known as the Diamond Knot Killer based on the knot he would tie while binding some of his victims.
When his crimes escalated from burglary to rape, his modus operandi was to stalk middle class neighborhoods at night looking for women who were alone in single-story homes, usually near a school, creek, trail, or other open space. Police believe he had a pattern of extensive reconnaissance on several homes in a targeted neighborhood before selecting one for attack. They believe he would stalk his future victims for several nights prior to attacking. On a few occasions, it is believed that he entered the homes of future victims to unlock windows, unload guns, and plant binding ligatures for future use. He would also frequently call future victims either hanging up or pretending to have the wrong number, sometimes for months in advance to learn their daily schedules and routines. He also called some of his victims after the attacks threatening to harm them again.
Investigators also believe that he followed news of his crimes and changed his modus operandi after a widely distributed newspaper article focused on his targeting of women who were either alone in their homes or with children. The suspect then began to attack couples instead, usually breaking in through a window or a sliding glass door and awakening his victims with a flashlight while armed with a handgun. The victims were tied up, gagged and separated with the attacker often stacking dishes on the back of the male, stating that if he heard the dishes rattle he would kill everyone in the house. After one attack ended with the male victim confronting the rapist, the attacker progressed to murder. The attacks stopped in 1986 and police suspected their murderer may have been incarcerated for other crimes.
Forensic technology advanced and in 2001 investigators linked the East Area Rapist’s crimes with the Original Night Stalker’s murders. Once the slew of crimes were connected either through DNA evidence or the same modus operandi, he was dubbed the Golden State Killer. Recently retired investigator Paul Holes admits he worked the case obsessively for over 10 years and knew the killer would be in his 70’s if still alive. He credits two key elements in the investigation, one of which was a forensic pathologist’s insistence on making duplicate rape kits and the second was the use of a genealogy website known as GEDMatch. In January, Holes uploaded the DNA profile of the “Golden State Killer” to allow the GEDMatch servers to produce a list of people that potentially shared DNA. Investigators created about 25 family trees containing thousands of relatives from the 1800s down to the present day. They narrowed their search down to Joseph James DeAngelo before matching DNA that led to his arrest.

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A federal jury convicted three Kansas militia members were for their role in plotting to bomb a mosque and apartment complex housing Somali refugees.  The plot was thwarted by another member of the group who tipped off federal authorities about escalating threats of violence.  Gavin Wright, Patrick Stein and Curtis Allen were convicted of one count of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and one count of conspiracy against civil rights. Wright was also convicted of a charge of lying to the FBI. Sentencing is scheduled for June 27.

An FBI informant said they were plotting to use guns and car bombs to mass murder Somalis. The three men belonged to a militia called the Crusaders which was a splinter group of the militia Kansas Security Force.  Testimony and recordings indicate the men tried to recruit other members of the Kansas Security Force to join them.  The men were indicted in October 2016 for plotting an attack for the day after the presidential election in the town of Garden City, about 220 miles west of Wichita.

According to prosecutors, Stein was recorded discussing the type of fuel and fertilizer bomb that Timothy McVeigh used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people. The men discussed obtaining vehicles and filling them with explosives and parking them at the four corners of the apartment complex to create an explosion that would level the entire complex.  They downloaded recipes from the internet and they experimented with and tested those explosives.  Stein was arrested when he delivered 300 pounds of fertilizer to undercover FBI agents to make explosives.  Wright is captured in one recording saying he hoped an attack on the Somalis would “wake people up” and inspire others to take similar action against Muslims.

Defense attorneys argued that the FBI set up the men with a paid informant and all the talk about violence wasn’t serious. They said the men had a right to free speech and association under the U.S. Constitution.  Prosecutors argued that the plot was more than just words and presented enough evidence to convince the jury of a conviction.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the verdicts a significant victory against domestic terrorism and hate crimes.  “The defendants in this case acted with clear premeditation in an attempt to kill people on the basis of their religion and national origin,” Sessions said in a news release. “That’s not just illegal — it’s immoral and unacceptable, and we’re not going to stand for it.”

 

Barbara Bush Passes Away

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Former first lady Barbara Bush has died at her home in Houston, Texas at the age of 92 at. She is one of only two women in U.S. history to be both the wife of a U.S. president and the mother of another.  The mother of six children — one of whom, a daughter, Robin, died as a child from leukemia, stood by her husband George H.W. Bush’s side during his nearly 30 year political career has he rose to become vice president and president.

Known as the “enforcer” in her family — the glue who kept the high-powered clan together, she adopted literacy as a cause, raising awareness and eventually launching the nonprofit Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. After George H.W. Bush’s presidency, he and Barbara raised more than $1 billion for literacy and cancer charities.  “I chose literacy because I honestly believe that if more people could read, write, and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation and our society,” she said.

She had been admired by many for her trademark bluntness, her championing of literacy efforts and her embrace of HIV-positive babies in the late 1980s, when ignorance about the disease was rampant.  Grief over her daughter Robin’s death from leukemia allowed her to comfort others who were afflicted and made it easy for her to relate to the underdog.

Bush battled health problems for most of her later years of life. In 1988, she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that commonly affects the thyroid. In 2008, she underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer and in 2009 she had open-heart surgery.  In her final years, she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well as congestive heart failure.   Despite these health setbacks, she and her husband kept an active public schedule, raising money for charity.

In April 2018, her family released a statement regarding her failing health, stating that she had chosen to be at home with family-desiring “comfort care” rather than further treatment.  According to family spokesman Jim McGrath, her decision came as a result of “a series of recent hospitalizations.”  Funeral services will be held April 21st at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.

 

 

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The crude oil spill from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota last November has turned out to be nearly twice as big as first reported.  Around 407,000 gallons spilled onto farmland when the pipeline broke near Amherst in Marshall County on Nov. 16th.  TransCanada had originally put the spill at 210,000 gallons but the new number would make the spill the seventh-largest onshore oil spill since 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

TransCanada had shut down the 590,000 barrel-per-day pipeline, one of Canada’s main crude export routes linking Alberta’s oil fields to U.S. refineries, immediately following the spill.  Repairs were made and TransCanada resumed using the pipeline 12 days after the leak.  Immediately after the leak was reported South Dakota regulators said they could revoke TransCanada’s permit for the Keystone Pipeline if an investigation concludes that the company violated its terms. If that happens, the company would have to correct any issues—in the worst case, even replace part of the pipeline—before oil shipments could resume.

A preliminary report indicated that the pipeline might have been damaged during its’ construction in 2008, though the investigation is ongoing. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is expected to release its final report on the leak in the next few weeks. The federal agency has estimated that the leak cost TransCanada $9.57 million.  The Keystone Pipeline carries oil more than 2,600 miles from Alberta, Canada, to Oklahoma and Illinois.

In February, TransCanada Corp. reported that the cleanup of the massive oil spill was halfway finished.  TransCanada spokeswoman Robynn Tysver said work at the Amherst site has transitioned from excavation to remediation. She stated that all of the excavation work has been completed and most of the impacted soil has been removed.  In late March, Tysver said the company had replaced the last of the topsoil and have seeded the impacted area.”   The company also agreed to restore the roads used by trucks transporting equipment and soil.

A spill and activity report on the agency’s website shows that TransCanada has installed groundwater monitoring systems, which haven’t yet detected any contamination.

The pipeline runs through both Dakotas and two other states and drew fierce resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota, the tribe’s allies and environmentalists.  Opposition to the pipeline sparked month’s long protests, with as many as 10,000 people participating during the peak of the demonstrations.