Off the Editor’s Desk – 2-22-2017

Protesters left piles of waste, some poop!

I think that we all have heard about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protesters that are trying to stop the construction of that oil pipeline in North Dakota.

 I don’t want to get into the pros and cons of the construction, mainly because I don’t have enough information about the project to summit an opinion.

Last Thursday night while I was in a motel in Lincoln, Nebraska and watching the evening news, a report came in that the Army Corp of Engineers were trying to clean up the area where protesters had established a tent camp to protest the pipeline.

Last week federal and state officials announced plans to accelerate cleanup at the camp in southern North Dakota. Officials fear the camp near the Cannonball River will soon flood due to warm weather and rapid snow melt. They worry trash and debris left behind by the protesters might pollute the Missouri River and other nearby waterways. The television news reported that the federal officials were seeking help in the cleanup efforts and asking for volunteers to come and help. I don’t suppose that the people that made the mess will come back and help?

Worry about the possible pollution of a lake and the river is what brought those protesters to North Dakota in the first place in an attempt to stop the pipeline construction.

Local and federal officials estimate there’s enough trash and debris in the camp to fill about 2,500 pickup trucks, according to the Associated Press. Garbage ranges from trash to building debris to human waste, according to Morton County, North Dakota Emergency Manager Tom Doering.

According to Wikipedia the $3.8 billion dollar project was projected to run from the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota to Southern Illinois, some 1172 miles, crossing beneath the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, as well as under part of Lake Oahe, near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The tribe considers the pipeline and its intended crossing of the Missouri River a threat to the region’s clean water and to the ancient burial grounds.

Last April, a Standing Rock Sioux elder established a camp as a center for cultural preservation and spiritual resistance to the pipeline and over the summer the camp grew to thousands of people who came to protest the pipeline.

Also in April of last year the EPA asked the Army Corps to conduct a formal Environmental Impact Assessment and issue a statement.

In September workers bulldozed a section of land that the tribe had identified as sacred ground. The pipeline is being installed on federal land.

In October, armed soldiers and police cleared an encampment that was directly in the proposed pipeline path.

In late November, many new participants joined the protest.

On December 4th the Obama administration denied an easement for the pipeline to cross under the Missouri River.

On January 24, President Trump signed an executive order to advance the construction of the pipeline under “terms and conditions to be negotiated.”

On February 7th, President Trump authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed, ending the environmental impact statement and the associated public comment period.

I am a big supporter of allowing the public an opportunity to have input into public matters and that should have been allowed.

But one thing remains, is the cost to the government to protect the construction workers from the protesters, the cost of the cleanup and I must note that there have been 167 injuries at the site since the protesters arrived. There also have been 268 arrests made including Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate Ajamu Baraka on criminal trespass and criminal mischief. They apparently spray painted some construction equipment.

Thanks for reading!       ~Carlton