Trump Denies North Dakota Money To Pay Down Costs Of Pipeline Protests

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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The Trump administration denied North Dakota federal dollars to help the state recoup money lost while cleaning up after last year’s Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests.

The federal government will not help the state pay down what is expected to be $37 million in damage associated with the protests, according to a spokesperson for Gov. Doug Burgum. The Republican governor made the reimbursement request directly to President Donald Trump, but the request was denied less than a month later.

DAPL drew the ire of both out-of-state protesters and the Standing Rock Sioux, an American Indian tribe in North Dakota whose members sued to block completion of a small section of the line near the reservation. Activists believed the pipeline’s construction trampled on tribal lands and could poison the tribe’s waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.

Opposition to the pipeline died down after the Obama administration rejected the hotly contested pipeline route in December 2016, but activists were re-energized after President Donald Trump overturned his predecessor’s order. He also issued an executive order approving construction on the equally divisive Keystone XL Pipeline.

Environmentalists and tribal groups ramped up their demonstrations. Burgum was forced to issue an emergency evacuation in February to give the state room to clean up the massive amount of trash that had accumulated at the site.

Various state agencies collaborated in the cleanup effort. The North Dakota Department of Human Services, North Dakota Department of Emergency Services and the North Dakota Department of Health took part in removing the trash and debris that activists left after vacating the campsites.

North Dakota officials believe that 94 percent of the 709 arrests at the camps where the bulk of the protests took place were non-state residents. Officials added that 221 of those apprehended had prior criminal records.

The protests also created significant property damage. More than 544 households reported losses ranging from $15,000 to $20,000 due to crop losses. The total equates to at least $8 million in total losses.

North Dakota should be able to recoup enough revenue from the DAPL to cover the price tag associated with policing the months-long anti-DAPL demonstrations, according to an analysis conducted in March 2017. The line’s developer estimated $129 million annually in property and income taxes.

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