Estimated $10 Million in Damage Done to Construction Equipment by Dakota Access Protesters

Masked protesters stand at a construction site for the Dakota Access Pipeline. One estimate puts the damage to construction equipment caused by protesters at $10 million. Photo courtesy of Morton County

One thing we’ve heard a lot about during the often unlawful and sometimes violent protests targeting the Dakota Access Pipeline is vandalism done to private property. Including construction equipment.

Protesters have often targeted construction equipment along the pipeline route – more of them were arrested today after locking themselves to equipment – and we’ve been hearing stories about tires being slashed and gas tanks being filled with dirt.

Today the MAIN Coalition – a group of interests supporting the pipeline – posted some pictures of the vandalism and gave us an estimate of what it’s costing the company.

“Early estimates suggest that the damaged equipment will cost $10 million,” they write.

The pictures they posted show slashed tires, cut hoses, and evidence of dirt and gravel put in a gas tank:

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“Despite continuing to claim that their protest is a peaceful and lawful one, damaging the equipment puts workers at risk as well as protesters untrained in dealing with industrial equipment,” the MAIN Coalition writes. “Moreover, and wildly hypocritically, protestors cut fluid lines and tampered with gas tanks which undoubtedly spilled industrial fluids on the very ground they are fighting to protect.”

That $10 million estimate seems really, really high. But then this sort of construction equipment – and the skilled labor it takes to maintain and repair it – is also really, really expensive.

Some in the media and public who are sympathetic to the protesters have been cavalier about their unlawful protesting and vandalism. But since when is it ok for anyone, whatever their cause, to damage someone else’s property to this extent?

Even if the $10 million estimate is inflated, we’re still talking about big-money damage.

It’s inexcusable.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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