After months of protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, activists left so much waste at their camp state, officials have ordered it be cleaned up to prevent an “environmental disaster.”
Dump trucks and work crews moved into the campsite Monday to clean up the abandoned cars, structures, trash and waste left by thousands of protesters who converged on the region to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline over concerns it would contaminate drinking water relied upon by American Indians.
Rather ironically, the waste generated by protesters posed its own threat to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s drinking water, Reuters reported. Protesters have long claimed the Dakota Pipeline would contaminate tribal drinking water.
State, tribal and local officials worked with protest organizers to clean up the campsite, which sits on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land in North Dakota.
“It is paramount for public safety, and to prevent an environmental disaster, that the camps be cleared prior to a potential spring flood,” GOP North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a pipeline supporter, said in a statement issued Monday.
Standing Rock Sioux officials asked pipeline protesters to leave the makeshift camp outside the reservation in January after months of sometimes violent protesting over the Dakota Access Pipeline. Hundreds of protesters stayed, and are now leasing reservation land.
The Dakota Access Pipeline sparked a massive political fight last year after Standing Rock Sioux tribal officials came out against the project, saying it would trample over sacred sites and threaten its drinking water.
They were joined by thousands of environmental activists in physically blocking the $3.8 billion pipeline’s route.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blocked the pipeline in November by not granting the project the easement it needs to cross the Missouri River. The Corps initially approved the project in summer 2016.
President Donald Trump came out in support of the pipeline, and signed an executive order to move Dakota Access along in the approval process. Observers expect the project to be approved by the Trump administration.
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