Politics

Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Cost North Dakota Taxpayers $33 Million

from – NetRightDaily.com – by Richard McCarty

Last summer, hordes of professional leftists, ne’er-do-wells, thugs, and drug users descended upon North Dakota intent upon “helping” the tribes opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is being developed by Energy Transfer Partners.

The self-important radicals dubbed themselves “water protectors.”  In their view, the $3.8 billion pipeline had to be stopped because of their fervent belief in global warming and the possibility that, one day, the pipeline might leak and pollute the water.

This motley crew has been far from ideal neighbors. One activist complained that others in the group were consuming tribal resources without contributing sufficiently and seemed to view the protest as little more than a Burning Man festival. Another activist advised potential protesters not to bring alcohol or drugs and told them that “you are not on vacation.”

Due to the protesters, the tribe’s casino has seen a decline in business, which has caused a shortfall of millions of dollars in the tribe’s budget.

And the tribe is not the only one paying the price for the protest. According to a state estimate, state and local taxpayers were responsible for paying nearly $33 million to deal with the protests as of Feb. 10. With the imminent arrival of flooding season, federal authorities have ordered the squatters to leave.

In early Dec. 2016, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dave Archambault II, asked protesters to leave, but hundreds chose to ignore his request. Previously, the tribal chairman had expressed concern over the fact that protesters were digging latrines in the flood plain, which could result in waste being washed into the Cannonball River.

As if that was not bad enough, protesters have also burned tires. What kind of environmentalists burn tires — willfully releasing carbon and noxious chemicals into the atmosphere?

The left, including many in the media, would have you believe that these protesters have been peaceful. The facts are otherwise. Over the past several months, protesters have flagrantly defied government orders; blocked state and county roads and railroad tracks; attacked police with pepper spray; pointed lasers at police; thrown rocks, bottles, bricks, feces, burning logs, and Molotov cocktails, among other things, at police; intentionally stampeded hundreds of bison toward police; and burned county vehicles. One protester even shot at police.

Unsurprisingly, many — over 700, in fact — have been arrested. Of those arrested, many had criminal records, and more than 90 percent were from out of state. Of course, the protesters have complained bitterly about the police response to the protesters’ criminal actions.

Nor have police been the protesters’ only targets. Protesters have sabotaged or burned construction vehicles and equipment; cut ranchers’ fences allowing bison to escape; harassed farmers and ranchers; and killed cows and bison. In one disturbing incident, protesters ran a pipeline construction worker off the road and chased and surrounded him until he was extricated by federal agents.

According to one estimate last fall, protesters had caused $10 million of damage to construction equipment. Protesters and their supporters have also phoned in numerous death threats to a local county government and local businesses.

As the number of protesters has dwindled, another problem has grown: the protesters’ piles of garbage. The tribe, working together with local and state authorities, is in the process of removing an estimated 4.5 million pounds of garbage and debris — much of it still frozen. The process was expected to take weeks; but, with snow already beginning to melt, time is running out.

About 200 vehicles, which were abandoned by protesters, are also being removed. Knowing time is of the essence, protesters continue to cause problems: just last week, they blocked several sanitation trucks from entering their camp.

Rick Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government, stated, “President Trump must investigate the funders of these polluting protesters and to send them the bill for the mess the protesters created. It is unacceptable for these costs to be borne by taxpayers and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.”

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Tiredofitall
4 years ago

What else is new? Look at the mess left after Obama’s first inauguration!!! The Wall Street protesters in New York City. Not to mention Baltimore City after the “black lives matter” crowd started its tantrum. You know, I was always taught to leave the place better than you found it and I am for the pipeline.

Thomas H
4 years ago

The mental illness of liberalism!

Lenis Slach
4 years ago

$33 Million dollars does not mean anything to most people. I believe using terms that show the amount in equal value for the various people may have more impact. How many hospitals could be built, how many homes for the homeless could be built, how many teachers could be hired with $33 million, how many animal recue hospitals could be built and supported, how many scholarships, etc.? These selfish individuals that destroy property and trash the surroundings, that are not their own, believe they have right and in the United Sates have no consequences unlike the protesters of Planned Parenthood? Reports showing what funds are used to repair and replace the damage and what will suffer the loss would make it a reality.

E Bostrom
4 years ago

It is always the same with those Idiots, the want to protect the Environment and than are the biggest Polluters besides costing the Taxpayers money, why do they always have to destroy and harm People and in this case Animals also?

Jim
4 years ago

What should happen is that the organizations, these people said they represent, should be fined to pay for the cleanup and the damage their people caused at the anarchist gathering. The people cause damage and bear little or no expense for the damage they cause, maybe if their Organizations and these individuals were held financially responsible they would be more respectful of private property ! At least there would be less money to finance these anarchists !

Just Sayin\'
4 years ago

Personally, I would have preferred we built a fence around them and let them wallow in what they have wrought.

Don
4 years ago

I think the casinos of these tribes are a good place to start! There is no need for tax payers to pay for it!

Dandy
4 years ago

Not to worry! The KARMA train is on the way!

Ronald Lee
4 years ago

I would have loved to have been the engineer on a train that was blocked by protesters! Can you say “high Ball” and “full speed ahead”!

Wingleader
4 years ago

That $33 M bill should be sent to the Tribe.

Stephen Lykins
4 years ago

The local tribes should sue the protesters to recoup the cost of cleanup and George Soros and the other libertards that promoted and financed this nonsense for punitive damages of at least 10 times the cleanup cost.

Wayne Peterkin
4 years ago

Typical left-wing dishonesty and stupidity.

PJay
4 years ago

Sorry but this time I side with the native Americans. They have legitimate concerns. First colonists tried to kill them all. Then set up treaties which were not followed. Finally they are herded onto lands the settlers didn’t want. Now we want to jeopardize their water supply. Exactly when does the rape of native Americans end?

karps
4 years ago
Reply to  PJay

@Pjay: I don’t disagree with a single word you say. But your words aren’t pertinent to the point about the absolute trashing of the area. It is possible to have a very large protest with no clean-up costs (witness the many, very large Tea Party rallies of 2010, where the news media filmed the attendees walking around picking up litter before leaving the site). This sounds like a much larger version of the leftists trashing the Wisconsin capitol in Madison to protest Governor Walker and the Legislature. It cost the state budget millions to clean up and repair the building, which made for even larger cuts to education and local government.

To your main point, I remain in favor of the Keystone Pipeline, but still have concerns about the Dakota Access one. No doubt it’s safer than trucks and railroad tanker cars, but as an engineer, I hate the idea of putting something where it can’t be easily seen or repaired. Many pipelines cross rivers where they are narrow and go above them, like a bridge. They can still leak, but they are easy to inspect, easy to shut off, and easy to repair.

Hen3ry H
4 years ago
Reply to  karps

I was at those Tea Party demos at the Capitol in D.C. protesting ObamaCare
Couldn’t possibly meet a nicer bunch. Boisterous but polite and respectful of the law and property.
Also had the opportunity to go inside the capitol building in Madison back in the 99.
Absolutely beautiful. Like being inside an art museum.
But the leftist demos in typical form just had to trash the place.
I guess their own sense of self righteousness can’t restrain their destructive imulses.

KLP
4 years ago
Reply to  PJay

I agree that we should stop misusing the Indians by keeping them chained to the government welfare system and other government payouts. Take away the “nation” status, give them the land and let them stand on their own and be productive. It’s the American way…

Hen3ry H
4 years ago
Reply to  PJay

Native Americans are not the only ones to have to deal with outside migrations
Look at the history of Asia and Europe
Mongols, Huns, Vikings, Romans, Persians, Ottomans etc & etc

PaulE
4 years ago

This is typical of most left-leaning protests. Lots of noise for the TV cameras. Maybe some violence thrown in to “liven things up” and get more press coverage. All to attract donations and support from the mass of “useful idiots” out there, who actually believe these protestors care about what they are protesting. Then finally when it is all over, a whole lot of trash to clean up afterwards from the very protestors that claim to be so concerned about the environment. In this case, the bill for permitting this nonsense to continue as long as it did comes to about $33 million dollars.

As for calls for Trump to send a bill to the protestors, so the taxpayers and the tribe mentioned aren’t stuck with the bill, my question is why didn’t the other tribes, all of whom approved of the pipeline beforehand, simply band together to disperse these protestors when they first showed up? Not everything is a federal issue to resolve. The people of the local communities involved and the state have the responsibility to prevent these kinds of situations from occurring. Sitting on one’s hands for months and months, afraid of bad publicity for running off these protestors while this group of protestors essentially holds up an approved construction project and generates mountains of garbage that needs to be cleaned up, doesn’t make it a federal issue.

Please don’t give me the free speech excuse. Free speech does not allow one to impede authorized construction activity without any consequences. Nor does it absolve the protestors from the economic costs associated with their protests. In this case, their $33 million dollar bill for garbage removal and environmental remediation of the area impacted. How the state and local communities choose to collect that amount from the individuals involved is their concern. It certainly does not involve the federal government or Trump to act as a bill collector. The state is perfectly capable of seizing the assets, via placing liens on bank accounts, property, other assets, of the all individuals involved in the protest, if necessary, to recover its costs associated with this clean-up. This is NOT a federal matter.

Bryan B
4 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

There is no “right” to harm other citizens nor infringe on others “rights”

Tom B
4 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Here you go PaulE … An AP story in our local newspaper. What a deal, travel assistance, personal kits, snacks, even bus fare to go home, ya gotta be kidding right? No they’re not kidding.

According to AP, there are about 300 people remaining at the camp. The camp will close on Wednesday afternoon, ordered by Army Corps of Engineers. They’re citing dangers of possible spring floods. For the protesters, ND officials set up a travel assistance center and they’re offering health assessments, personal kits, water and snacks, bus fare so protesters can travel home, food and hotel vouchers. According to plans, buses begin leaving the camp for Bismarck, ND at 9 in the morning. Law enforcement folks say they expect some protesters won’t leave without being arrested.

A February 16, 2017 photo of the camp couldn’t be posted here, but close your eyes and imagine a poorly run garbage dump, you’ll get the picture.

Ron Oglesby
4 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

The State Police, County Sherriff Pose, and National Guard in State should have gone in and removed those who violated State, County and Local Laws and Restrictions. The local Police should have collected names and licenses of violators to use if property damages and environmental restrictionns were broken ,so costs for damages could be assed to violators and not the citizens. Laws were being broken without any consequences to the violators.

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