In a print column earlier this month I noted that the State of North Dakota had applied, in June, for $13.8 million in funding from the Justice Department’s Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Program.
The intent of the request is to request some of the state’s roughly $38 million in costs resulting from the violent #NoDAPL protests perpetrated by political extremists against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Today Senator John Hoeven’s office announced that the state will be getting most of their request – $10 million specifically – though that leaves roughly $28 million not paid for.
His full release is below.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]“Considering the protestor camp was allowed to remain on federal land and the Obama administration’s decision to prolong the situation and refusal to enforce the law, it only makes sense that the federal government should shoulder a share of the cost. That’s why we worked so hard to bring this funding to the state and relieve some of this burden.”[/mks_pullquote]
“Ensuring the safety of everyone in the area during the protests was a tremendous undertaking for our law enforcement,” Hoeven is quoted as saying in the release. “Considering the protestor camp was allowed to remain on federal land and the Obama administration’s decision to prolong the situation and refusal to enforce the law, it only makes sense that the federal government should shoulder a share of the cost. That’s why we worked so hard to bring this funding to the state and relieve some of this burden.”
Hoeven is right about the federal nexus to this situation. The protesters, despite their violence and illegal activities, were shown an incredible amount of deference by the Obama administration. This resulted in enormous problems for law enforcement, not to mention citizens who live and work in the area of the protests and rioting, and tens of millions of dollars in costs to go along with them.
What’s been surprising is the federal government’s reticence to pony up to cover these expenses under the Trump administration.
I spoke with Congressman Cramer about that on the radio recently. He said the feds are hesitant to set a precedent whereby the federal government pays for local law enforcement costs. That’s not an unreasonable concern, I suppose, but again the federal nexus here was clear.
The federal government, under the Obama administration, basically helped create these costs. Governor Doug Burgum told me earlier this year in an interview that he believes North Dakota taxpayers should pay “zero” for the protest expenses. He’s right.
And the pipeline company shouldn’t have to pay either.
Here’s the full release from Hoeven’s office:
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