With Dakota Access Pipeline construction resumed, a lot of you readers have been asking me about the cost of the #NoDAPL protests against that project have cost taxpayers.
I’d been meaning to put in a request for the information, but this morning the answer dropped in my inbox in the form of a release from the North Dakota Joint Information Center.
They sent out a document with some details about North Dakota’s response to the protests. You can see it below, but the total cost so far has been $32.9 million.
That includes expenses like travel and lodging ($3.6 million), equipment and supplies ($4.3 million), and personnel ($25 million) for 188 days of work.
Those numbers are all from August 10 through February 10.
North Dakota’s state leaders – from House Majority Leader Al Carlson and Governor Doug Burgum to our bipartisan congressional delegation – have made it clear that they expect the feds to reimburse the state for all or at least some of these expenditures.
And they should given the degree to which the federal government, under the Obama administration, fueled and exacerbated the protests.
Most of the protesters camped, illegally, on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land. State and local law enforcement didn’t have jurisdiction to do anything about the camps, and the feds largely refused to take action.
What’s more, the Obama administration prolonged the fight by ordering the Corps to pull back from issuing an easement for the pipeline which the agency had previously determined should be issued.
There is nothing wrong with opposing a pipeline like DAPL, but the opposition which showed up in south central North Dakota these last several months has been unacceptable, and enabled in many ways by the previous administration.
North Dakotans had to pay for that, now they should be paid back.
[scribd id=339230849 key=key-ZxzMwABT6iTPytpV7tzI mode=scroll]