Senator Hoeven: North Dakota May Get $15 Million in Federal Funds to Pay for #NoDAPL Protest Response


Police use a water cannon to put out a fire started by protesters during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. November 20, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

As of February of this year the cost of North Dakota’s state and local response to the often violent, often unlawful #NoDAPL protests was some $33 million (through February).

State officials, including Governor Doug Burgum, have insisted that the federal government should reimburse the state for those costs. “I believe North Dakota taxpayers should be paying zero dollars out of that,” he told me back in February. The argument is that the situation had a heavy federal nexus, dealing with a dispute with a federally recognized Indian tribe inspiring protests on federally-managed lands at the heart of which was delays in issuing a federal permit to cross a federally regulated waterway.

The feds, North Dakota officials argue, contributed in no small way to the existence of the protests. Thus, the feds should pay. Which is an argument I agree with.

Well today Senator John Hoeven announced that the feds may be paying at least part of the expense. In a press release (see below) Hoeven’s office announces that there will be $15 million in the next federal spending bill to compensate the state for the protest response.

“As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ve worked to secure funding in the Department of Justice budget that states and localities can apply for to defer costs for emergency law enforcement situations, including the Dakota Access Pipeline protests,” Hoeven says in the release. “This should enable North Dakota to get up to $15 million from the Fiscal Year 2017 budget to help defer the costs associated with that law enforcement effort.”

It’s less than half of what the protests cost the state, but at least it’s something.

Here’s the release:

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