The protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline certainly grew more intense in late October, but we may be on the edge of things settling down quite a bit if Governor Jack Dalrymple is correct in his estimation of the project’s construction schedule.
“Our hope is when the work on the pipeline is completed, which I think may be within just a matter of days, they will have pipe laid all the way up to the river,” he told talk radio host Scott Hennen on Friday, “and then nothing will be left but the crossing of the river itself.”
The pipeline company is free to work on every section of the more than 1,000 mile long project except for part which crosses U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land immediately adjacent to and under the Lake Oahe reservoir. The Obama administration is currently holding up that part of the construction.
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”Our hope is when the work on the pipeline is completed, which I think may be within just a matter of days, they will have pipe laid all the way up to the river,” he told talk radio host Scott Hennen on Friday, “and then nothing will be left but the crossing of the river itself.”[/mks_pullquote]
“When we reach the point it will be in the hands of the federal government. Either they will issue that easement or they won’t, but in the mean time there won’t be anything to resolve, there won’t be anything to protest until that time comes,” Dalrymple continued.
He may have a point, and if he does it would be a relief after riots have cost the state millions of dollars and disrupted the lives of thousands and thousands of citizens in south central North Dakota.
Lt. Tom Ivereson of the North Dakota Highway Patrol told me yesterday that the size of the #NoDAPL protest camps is “substantially less” than weeks past, something he attributed both to weather and growing disillusionment among some factions with the often unlawful and sometimes violent nature of the protests.
The #NoDAPL organizers have insisted that they will keep up their activities through the winter months. But talking about camping out in North Dakota’s harsh winter is one thing. Actually doing it is quite another.
The organizers have struggled to find a place for a winter camp for the protesters – residents of Cannon Ball, a nearby tribal community, voted against letting the protesters camp there – and if there is no active pipeline construction taking place for protesters to harass and obstruct, you have to think it will grow harder to keep the protesters from going home.
Let’s hope that’s the case. Not because there is anything necessarily wrong with protesting the pipeline, agree with that position or not, but because North Dakota’s citizens and law enforcement deserve a break from the rioting and disruption.
As it happens, per my colleague Amy Dalrymple, today was actually the date the pipeline project was supposed to be entirely completed:
Today was supposed to be mechanical completion deadline for #DAPL in ND. Now date is unknown as Corps has yet to issue Lake Oahe easement
— Amy Dalrymple (@AmyDalrympleFCC) October 31, 2016
Here’s the audio:
[fcc_jw_podcast key=”rtVxed4o” player-image=”134228″]