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Judge sends suit over pipeline back to North Dakota court

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- A federal judge has sent back to North Dakota state court a lawsuit alleging the environmental group Greenpeace conspired against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The two sides had agreed to the move, and U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland recently signed off on it.

Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners maintains Greenpeace and others should be held responsible for trying to disrupt pipeline construction and damage the company's reputation and finances. Greenpeace accuses ETP of using the legal system to bully critics.

Greenpeace had cited federal law dealing with court jurisdiction to try to get the state lawsuit moved to federal court, where the group had already prevailed against racketeering claims alleged by ETP. But ETP disputed Greenpeace's argument, and the group late last week acknowledged the company was correct.