In a press conference today Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier will be increasing law enforcement’s presence in the area of the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“Kirchmeier said county residents have been threatened and their quality of life curtailed,” the Bismarck Tribune reports.
“These fears are real,” the sheriff is quoted as saying. Apparently deputies have been assigned to go door-to-door discussing issues with area residents, which is just one new tactic law enforcement will deploy to respond to a protest which has “grown beyond the parameters intended by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.”
Meanwhile the North Dakota Farm Bureau is blasting Governor Jack Dalrymple for a “lack of decisive action” in response to the protests.
“NDFB is extremely disappointed with the situation that has transpired regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline, and we believe stronger leadership on your part is needed,” President Darryl Lies wrote in a letter dated October 4. “Landowners and our members have been willing sellers of easements, all the proper protocols have been followed, and yet in the last two months the project has come to a screeching halt. Trespass laws and private property rights have been trampled. At each step along the way, you as our state’s chief executive, have done very little to protect the property and lives of the rural landowners along the right of way. At this point, the lack of decisive action has put the landowners and the pipeline company in an extremely bad situation which was not necessary.”
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”Would this type of protest be allowed to impact other lawful business ventures? Why is this activity allowed to continue?[/mks_pullquote]
“Would this type of protest be allowed to impact other lawful business ventures? Why is this activity allowed to continue? Farmers and ranchers have had their businesses negatively impacted because the pipeline that should have been in the ground (and reclamation progressing), has been put on hold,” the letter continues.
Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring made some strong statements about these very issues last week (here’s audio of my interview with him), but outside of that it seems like our statewide leaders have been reticent to get involved with this situation.
Which puts the local law enforcement leaders who are on the front lines of the state’s response in a tough situation.
Law enforcement has done about as good a job as we could expect responding to the protesters, but that response must be buttressed by our statewide leaders articulating a consistent message demanding that all parties to this situation obey the law and go about their business peacefully.
A good place to start would be a unified message to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe asking them to disavow the factions in the protest movement guilty of the violent and unlawful activities.
Dalrymple has been, for the most part, invisible. That’s what has got the NDFB’s dander up and, frankly, I don’t blame them.
Here’s the full letter:
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