“The company will be finished laying pipe in North Dakota by this weekend,” Governor Jack Dalrymple told me this afternoon about the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
That was an echo of comments he made last week. The Governor believes all construction on the pipeline, aside from the very short portion of it crossing under the Lake Oahe reservoir, will be done very soon which may inspire some of the protesters tamp down their activities.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama said in recent comments that he expects his administration to delay any decision on the Lake Oahe crossing for “several more weeks” while the Army Corps of Engineers considers other routes.
I asked Dalrymple about those comments, and he President Obama has him bewildered.
“I have no idea what he means when he says ‘let it play out’,” Dalrymple told me. “It’s been playing out for a year.”
“It’s very hard to understand what there is to play out,” he continued.
Dalrymple also told me there has been a “significant development” in recent days with tribal leaders and protest camp organizers seeming to agree to expel the “Red Warrior group, though Dalrymple added that there’s “no indication of that at this time.”
I’d say that’s true given that North Dakota law enforcement is engaged in yet another stand off with protesters today.
Earlier this week Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley that people donating money to the #NoDAPL cause are funding “a coordinated criminal enterprise.”
“It is a platform for unlawful activity,” Wrigley said (audio here).
I asked Dalrymple about those comments. He said that, “some day we hope to recover some of our costs” from the federal government. Dalrymple noted that to date state authorities have approved $10 million in emergency borrowing to pay for law enforcement response to the protests.
Here’s the full audio of our conversation:
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