ND Governor Orders Evacuation at Pipeline Protest Camp
North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered an immediate evacuation of the camp hosting most of the protesters fighting against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
The Hill reports:
Dalrymple issued an executive order for the evacuation late Monday, citing the state’s concern over expected harsh weather during the winter.
“Any person who chooses to enter, reenter, or stay in the evacuation [area] does so at their own risk, and assumes any and all corresponding liabilities for their unlawful presence and occupation of the evacuation area,” Dalrymple wrote in the order.
The order comes three days after the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the land that hosts the protest site and is responsible for the decision on whether to permit the Dakota Access project’s developer to build under Lake Oahe, said it would close the federal land to protesters Dec. 5.
Dalrymple spokesman Jeff Zent told the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead that the state will not forcibly remove protesters.
The Army Corps made a similar caveat in its own evacuation order.
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, along with other American Indians, environmentalists and others have been at the protest site for months and have prepared to stay there through the winter.
They’re trying to prevent the Army Corps from issuing the Lake Oahe easement, the final approval Energy Transfer Partners needs to finish the project. The protests and clashes with law enforcement have turned violent numerous times.
Opponents say the project threatens the Standing Rock Sioux’s water supply and sites that they find sacred.
Energy Transfer, along with Dalrymple and other Republican leaders in the state, say that the claims are unfounded.
Photo credit: Common Dreams.