North Dakota officials are borrowing another $4 million to pay for law enforcement costs at a Dakota Access pipeline protest site and criticized the federal government for not covering part of the funding.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe protesting the construction of the pipeline, which would haul Bakken shale oil from North Dakota to U.S. Gold Coast refineries, clashed with police in late October and pledged to prolong protests through the state’s winter, Reuters reports. The pipeline also crosses through South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.
The tribe and environmental activists have been protesting the project for months, saying the pipeline would threaten sacred tribal sites and local water supplies. More than 400 activists have been arrested since August at the tribal land protest site.
The state has now received a $10 million line of credit to pay police monitoring the protest. The state-owned Bank of North Dakota approved the request for the extra $4 million after an emergency spending panel led by Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple agreed to seek the additional funds, The Associated Press reports.
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Dalrymple said local officials have sought contributions from the federal government, an American Indian tribe, the company Energy Transfer Partners building the pipeline, “and any entity we can think of.” So far, Energy Transfer Partners has not contributed money for the protest response but has provided a security helicopter to help police and to rescue anyone injured as a result of the protest.
North Dakota is using the additional funding to pay the costs of police officers from other states that traveled to monitor the protest. The out-of-state law officers were mandated to help under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a national program for sharing law enforcement aid from surrounding states during a state of emergency.
Local and state police personnel have traveled from South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Wyoming, Nebraska and Ohio to assist North Dakota control the Standing Rock Sioux tribe protest.
The tribe has signaled it will continue to protest the pipeline’s construction through the brutal North Dakota winter. In an interview with Reuters, tribe Chairman David Archambault II said the tribe is considering moving the protestors to a site with heated buildings or otherwise upgrading the current location’s infrastructure.
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"There are a lot of people who are committed to this who will stay [through the winter]," he said.