Tag: Dakota Access Pipeline

Protest Clean-Up Cost North Dakota $38 Million

BISMARCK – Governor Doug Borgum seeks federal reimbursement as a potential means of recovering the $38-million cost of policing and cleaning up after protestors who demonstrated against the Dakota Access Pipeline for months, according to a new article by Forbes.

All options are on the table,” according to Mike Nowatski, a spokesman from Borgum’s office. “The governor’s office has been in discussions with both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and White House officials to emphasize the state’s position that federal reimbursement is warranted.

Greenpeace – one of the several environmental groups that were present at the camps and raised millions in donations from around the world at the height of protests’ media coverage – said it was not responsible for the clean-up, charging Energy Transfer Partners and the consortium of companies that built the pipeline with the job instead.

 “Any environmental concerns sit at the feet of the pipeline decision-makers,” group spokesperson Perry Wheeler said in an email.

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II, one of the main tribes that organized the dissenting movement against the $3.8 billion DAPL, expressed his condemnation of the way environmental protestors managed federal lands to VICE News.

He continued: “Before this entire movement started, that was some of the most beautiful land around. There was a place down there where eagles, over 100 eagles would come and land. There were game down there — deer, pheasants, elk, geese. Now, it’s occupied by people. And when masses of people come to one place, we don’t take care of it.”

The camps housing protestors from across the nation were located on the flood plain, meaning any waste that remains will likely be carried by the rain into the Cannonball River, contaminating local water resources as spring emerges.

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Governor Burgum and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Discuss Clean-Up Plan

BISMARCK – Governor Doug Burgum and Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II had a lengthy telephone conversation about ongoing efforts to clean up and vacate the Dakota Access Pipeline opposition camp on federal land managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in southern Morton County:

  • Gov. Burgum and Chairman Archambault discussed their mutual understanding of the importance of evacuating and cleaning up the main Oceti Sakowin camp to protect human life and prevent contamination of the land and the Cannonball and Missouri rivers in the likely event of flooding.
  • The chairman and governor also discussed coordinated efforts by the tribe, state and county to remove garbage, structures, vehicles and other debris from the main camp. More than 230 truckloads had been hauled out as of Monday.
  • Both leaders stressed the importance of keeping open lines of communication, including a one-page flyer that will be distributed at the traffic control point south of the camp. Among other information, the flyer reminds people that the main camp will be evacuated at 2 p.m. Wednesday and re-entry will not be allowed, per the governor’s evacuation order and the Army Corps of Engineers’ eviction notice.
  • Gov. Burgum informed Chairman Archambault that the Backwater Bridge on Highway 1806 has been repaired and emergency vehicles are being allowed through a checkpoint south of the bridge. The governor noted that a Standing Rock ambulance was unable to pass through the checkpoint Sunday because of protester activity blocking the highway.

Meanwhile, the North Dakota Department of Human Services, North Dakota Department of Emergency Services and the North Dakota Department of Health have partnered to set up a travel assistance center. This free service will provide protesters with support as they prepare for their return home.

The transportation assistance center will offer personal kits, water and snacks, health/wellness assessments, bus fare for a return trip home, a food voucher, hotel lodging for one night, and a taxi voucher to the bus terminal.

Transportation will be provided from the protest camp to the assistance center. All camp residents are encouraged to take advantage of these amenities.

Pope Weighs in on Dakota Access Pipeline

BISMARCK – Pope Francis appeared on Wednesday to back Native Americans seeking to halt part of the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying indigenous cultures have a right to defend “their ancestral relationship to the earth”.

The Latin American pope, who has often strongly defended indigenous rights since his election in 2013, made his comments on protection of native lands to representative of tribes attending the Indigenous Peoples Forum in Rome.

While he did not name the pipeline, he used strong and clear language applicable to the conflict, saying development had to be reconciled with “the protection of the particular characteristics of indigenous peoples and their territories”.

Francis spoke two days after a U.S. federal judge denied a request by tribes to halt construction of the final link of the project that sparked months of protests by activists aimed at stopping the 1,170-mile line.

Speaking in Spanish, Francis said the need to protect native territories was “especially clear when planning economic activities which may interfere with indigenous cultures and their ancestral relationship to the earth”.

The Standing Rock Sioux and and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes have argued the project would prevent them from practicing religious ceremonies at a lake they say is surrounded by sacred ground.

“In this regard, the right to prior and informed consent (of native peoples) should always prevail,” the pope said, citing the 1997 U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Thousands of tribe members, environmentalists and others set up camps last year on Army Corps land in the North Dakota plains as protests intensified.

In December, the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama denied the last permit needed by Energy Transfer Partners, which is building the $3.8 billion pipeline.

But last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted a final easement, after President Donald Trump issued an order to advance the project days after he took office in January.

The pope made an indirect criticism last week of another Trump project, a wall along the border with Mexico, saying society should not create “walls but bridges” and ask others to pay for them.

“Do not allow those which destroy the earth, which destroy the environment and the ecological balance, and which end up destroying the wisdom of peoples,” he said.

Vets Plan to Hold DAPL Protest Site

BISMARCK – Thousands of veterans from various U.S. military services, plan to join demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and hold the lines for protesters against the construction project this weekend.

Already some 1000 vets are heading to the Oceti Sakowin protesters’ campsite, and target Sunday as their day of arrival, with plans to leave by Wednesday. However, many have already made arrangements to remain indefinitely at Standing Rock.

On Monday, North Dakota state authorities ordered the camp vacated, saying the cold makes it dangerous for protesters to stay there. But law enforcement has continued to allow vehicles to enter the site, as weather exposure continues to threaten the safety of demonstrators.

Governor Jack Dalrymple has already stated that plans to change the pipeline location may be to late, and that the Federal government must step in soon.“Further delays simply prolong the risks to public safety, prolong the hardships endured by area residents and increase costs incurred by the state of North Dakota and Morton County” said Dalrymple.

Thousands of vets are expected to arrive at the site, thanks to Michael Wood, a former police officer, and Wesley Clark, a screenwriter, both veterans, who set up a campaign on GoFundMe.com to raise money to help veterans support the Standing Rock protests.

The group representing the veterans, claims they will come in peace, and are there to show support for the protest, though as “human shields.”

[Filed by Piper Combs]

President-Elect Trump Holds Stock in Pipeline Partners

BISMARCK – Following non-stop protests and riots at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline, many have been curious what type of role will President-elect Donald Trump take on the crisis.

Sources are now indicating that Trump actually owns stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company building the disputed oil pipeline. Trump’s 2016 federal disclosure forms show he holds between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in ETP, as well as $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66, which has a one-quarter share of Dakota Access.

“Trump’s investments in the pipeline business threaten to undercut faith in this process — which was already frayed — by interjecting his own financial well-being into a much bigger decision,” said Sharon Buccino, director of the land and wildlife program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

Local Tribal leaders have concern over Trump’s holdings, and are weary his new administration could favor the pipeline consortium. The project has been held up while the Army Corps of Engineers consults with the Standing Rock Sioux, who believe the project could harm the tribe’s drinking water and Native American cultural sites.

“This should be about the interests of the many, rather than giving the appearance of looking at the interests of a few — including Trump,” Buccino said.

However, Trump sold a majority of his stock over the summer, in which he originally owned an amount listed at between $500,000 and $1 million. Industry observers in North Dakota feel the sale of the stock, should eliminate concerns of conflict of interest. Pointing out that Trump may have sold the stock due to dropping market prices in those companies, as demonstrations flared up.

During his campaign, Trump has pledged to expedite permits for oil and gas pipelines in order to spur more oil and gas development in the United States.

Police Fend off Protesters at Backwater Bridge

BISMARCK – Police fired tear gas and water at hundreds of protesters at the Backwater Bridge just north of Cannon Ball, and tried to force their way past authorities. “It is below freezing right now and the Morton County Sheriff’s Department is using a water cannon on our people – that is an excessive and potentially deadly use of force,” said Dallas Goldtooth, a spokesman for the Indigenous Environmental Network, one of the organizations involved in protests.

A joint statement from several activist groups said protesters Sunday were trying to remove burned vehicles blocking Backwater Bridge in order to restore access to the nearby Standing Rock Sioux encampments so emergency services and local traffic can move freely.

Police fired volleys of tear gas at the protesters to prevent them from crossing the bridge. Law enforcement also fired rubber bullets and sprayed protesters with water in temperatures that reached as low as 18 degrees overnight.

The latest standoff began Sunday evening, after protesters attempted to remove a truck that had been on the bridge since late October, police said.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation closed the Backwater Bridge, which crosses Cantapeta Creek north of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s camp, after vehicles were burned there last month. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had also asked Morton County law enforcement to prevent protesters from trespassing on federal land.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol says the State Capitol is in a” soft lockdown” – as small groups of protesters make their way to the site. Meanwhile, about 75 demonstrators remain on Backwater Bridge, which had been the site of previous clashes and fires and has been closed by the state’s department of transportation. Authorities continued to monitor the situation, as scattered fires smoldered nearby.

Jane Fonda to Serve Thanksgiving Meals at Standing Rock

BISMARCK – Another high profile Hollywood actress will lend her name to raise awareness for the Standing Rock Sioux effort. Jane Fonda will visit and help serve dinner to water protectors at the Oceti Sakowin camp, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota on Thanksgiving Day.

Fonda will be part of a delegation 50 people from around the country who will be visit the site of the Standing Rock action against the Dakota Access Pipeline — to serve a Wopila Feast to thank American Indian water protectors for their courage in defending Mother Earth.

“Our purpose is to give back to Native Americans – the Standing Rock Sioux and representatives of over 300 native tribes from throughout the Americas who have joined them in support,” says Judy Wicks, the primary organizer of the delegation.

Additionally, Fonda is contributing five butchered Bison and four Mongolian yurts to the camp.

Fonda is a two-time Academy Award-winner, and has won Oscars for her roles in “Klute” in 1971 and “Coming Home” in 1978, and is currently stars in the Netfix series “Grace and Frankie.”