By Nick Bernabe at theantimedia.org
North Dakota — Protecting the Dakota Access Pipeline has proved an expensive undertaking for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (DES), the government agency overseeing law enforcement at the contested construction site.
According to a statement from the governor’s office, costs of policing the pipeline site where Native American activists, or “water protectors,” have blocked construction over land rights and water contamination concerns have skyrocketed to $1.8 million. These costs include “about $1.08 million is from DES for overtime pay and resources, plus $700,000 in North Dakota Highway Patrol costs,” according to the Bismarck Tribune.
The Department of Emergency Services is now requesting a $6 million loan from the Bank of North Dakota because it doesn’t have the resources to cover militarized law enforcement crackdowns on protests for a prolonged period. “We’ve never done this,” DES spokeswoman Cecily Fong said regarding their role in the Dakota Access Pipeline protest response.“We’re good at fighting floods.”
As the number of protesters grows, so does the presence of militarized law enforcement and National Guard troops. On Tuesday, riot gear-clad police began to crack down on water protectors who had chained themselves to construction equipment, claiming they were trespassing on private property. At least 20 unarmed people were arrested at gunpoint, including medics and journalists.
It’s clear the Native American camp and North Dakota law enforcement are gearing up for a long, drawn out battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“Energy Transfer Partners has proven time and time again that the bottom line for them is money. The bottom line for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is and will always be protecting our lands, people, water, and sacred sites from the devastation of this pipeline,” Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault said in a statement, making it clear the protest will continue until the pipeline is stopped.
More of Anti-Media’s Dakota Access Pipeline coverage can be found here.
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