North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has ordered Dakota Access Pipeline protesters at Standing Rock to leave, over concerns that their waste and trash will pollute the river they have been vowing to save.
The Dakota Access Pipeline protesters at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation have been trying to convince state officials to let them stay, to no avail. The governor issued an emergency order to evacuate the protest site, citing weather conditions, safety concerns, and the threat the protesters’ trash and waste poses to the surrounding rivers and lakes. The 300 pipeline protesters at the Oceti Sakowin protest camp are ordered to leave by February 22.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been trying to keep the protest site clean, but with tons of trash piling up, an environmental disaster looms in the area. The Missouri River, which protesters say they hope to save from the oil pipeline, is directly threatened by the trash and waste.
“Due to these conditions, the governor’s emergency order addresses safety concerns to human life as anyone in the floodplain is at risk for possible injury or death. The order also addresses the need to protect the Missouri River from the waste that will flow into the Cannonball River and Lake Oahe if the camp is not cleared and the cleanup expedited,” the statement added.
The Cannonball River is a tributary of the Missouri River.
The Army Corps, in a letter issued Feb. 3, ordered those camping on federal property to vacate to prevent injuries and significant environmental damage in the event of flooding in the area.
“The Oceti Sakowin camp needs to be evacuated no later than Feb. 22 in order to allow private contractors to accelerate the removal of waste from the camp,” the statement from the governor’s office read.
Gov. Burgum told ABC affiliate KSTP in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on Thursday that he plans to ask the federal government for more than $33 million for law enforcement and cleanup bills related to the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camps that has housed hundreds — and, at times, thousands — of protesters.
The irony that protesters pose a greater environmental risk than the pipeline itself has been lost in mainstream media reports. As the weather has grown colder and harsher, it seems all of the celebrities have left for the California coast as well.