North Dakota Senator John Hoeven has just issued a joint press release with ND Stockmen’s Association Vice President Julie Ellingson decrying violence and trespassing in the south central part of the date around the #NoDAPL protests.
Here’s video from their joint statement:
You can read their press release in full below. It describes Hoeven and Ellingson meeting with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Assistant Secretary Lowry Crook for the Corps of Engineers, and Major General Donald Jackson, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations with the Army Corps of Engineers.
Ellingson told them of the headaches the protests have caused for farmers and ranchers near the #NoDAPL protests:
Ellingson described instances of trespassing, vandalism, theft and fire on privately owned ranchland. She also emphasized the challenges caused by roads being blocked or closed either by protest activity or law enforcement’s response to it to ensure safety at a time when farmers and ranchers are busy harvesting, hauling hay, shipping calves and moving their herds from summer pasture.
In addition, Ellingson said law enforcement has also seen several cases of butchered, mutilated, injured and missing cattle, horses and bison over recent weeks in areas adjacent to sites occupied by protesters. To date, six bison, six cows and two horses have been found dead, two cows have been shot and injured and more than 30 cows and calves have been reported missing. The cases are still under investigation, but illustrate the safety risk that may exist for landowners, livestock and others occupying the area.
“Over the past couple months, this farming and ranching community has been turned on its head and private property rights have been under siege,” Ellingson says in the release. “We’re hopeful the federal agencies acknowledge the severity of the situation and that their inaction leaves farmers, ranchers and their property in a compromised and sometimes dangerous position.”
This perspective has been missing from much of the media coverage of the #NoDAPL protests. While much bandwidth has been dedicated to letting the self-described “peaceful” protesters exercise their 1st amendment rights by blocking a public highway, trespassing on private property, and vandalizing construction equipment, little time has been spent exploring the impacts of these protests on the rights of people who live and work in that part of the state.
They have rights too. And the law is supposed to protect everybody’s rights.
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