There is drama brewing between Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and his state’s sheriff’s over the handling of North Dakota’s request for assistance with the #NoDAPL protests targeting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
But North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is staying out of it.
Earlier this week the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association sent Dayton a letter objecting to his decision to withhold information about Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) requests made by North Dakota to Minnesota and other states. The group accused Dayton of playing politics.
But Dayton fired back in his own letter, and while he denied that he was motivated by politics, he decried North Dakota’s response to the protests as fueled by a political agenda.
“I contend that this situation was made extremely “political” well before it was brought to my attention. North Dakota’s and the pipeline company’s responses to the dispute created a highly charged, very public confrontation, which has engaged two Presidents’ administrations, numerous national organizations, and an extremely polarized political environment,” Dayton wrote. “I believed it would be unwise to send Minnesota law enforcement personnel into that highly-charged and very volatile political situation.”
He went on to describe the accusations from the MSA as “inaccurate and offensive.”
I requested comment on all this from Governor Doug Burgum, but was told he doesn’t have one.
“The governor has no response,” Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki told me this morning, adding that the Governor “is grateful for all of the agencies that provided EMAC support, including those from Minnesota.”
It’s worth noting that North Dakota did receive assistance from multiple counties in Minnesota including Hennepin and Anoka, but political interference from activists and politicians did hamstring the state’s ability to get help from other states.
“Early on we had a number of states support our request for peace officer support,” Major General Al Dohrmann of the North Dakota National Guard told me in December. “Unfortunately, all jurisdictions that supported us were subject to protest in their own cities and capitols for providing support to North Dakota, along with intense pressure from various groups to not support North Dakota’s efforts to maintain the peace and rule of law.”