Iowa Governor Slams Pipeline Protesters: 'It’s Tragic What They Did in North Dakota'

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad delivers his annual condition of the state address before a joint session of the Iowa Legislature in Des Moines on Jan. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

WASHINGTON – Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) said the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters “have no right to pollute, burn things up and threaten people.”

He also told “Hollywood and the big money environmental wackos in California” to quit their efforts because the issue has been decided.


The 1,172-mile-long pipeline begins in North Dakota, travels through South Carolina and Iowa and ends in Illinois.

“Cut out the vandalism. Quit the disruption and the pollution of the river. It’s tragic what they did in North Dakota. You see all the garbage. You see, these people are supposedly environmentalists and they have been degrading the environment,” Branstad said during an interview with PJM at the National Governors Association (NGA) winter meeting. “The pipeline basically has been completed. The issue has been decided and it’s time to quit – Hollywood and the big money environmental wackos in California. They’ve also done a lot of damage to the Indians because their revenue has dropped off dramatically.”

Actresses Susan Sarandon and Shailene Woodley attended a Dakota Access Pipeline protest in Washington, D.C., over the summer.

The encampment in North Dakota was recently cleared of the last protesters, who have vowed to keep up the fight against the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and supporters are planning a Native Nations March on Washington this coming Friday.

Branstad said the conduct of the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters is a great example of what not to do.

“Peaceful protest is right but disrupting and polluting and burning and damaging people – two young children were badly burned because of what they did in North Dakota. I think that’s horrendous,” he said, referring to protesters ceremonially burning about 20 wooden structures used in the encampment for the months-long demonstration. A 7-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl were treated for burns after the fires.


“We listened to them. They had every opportunity to make their presentation. They have no right to pollute, burn things up and threaten people. It’s a tragic, tragic thing that’s happened and I just feel bad for the people of North Dakota and my state,” the Iowa leader added. “It’s completed. I think it’s going to start pumping oil within the next two or three weeks.”

One of the sessions at the NGA winter meeting was dedicated to healthcare. Following the session, Branstad advised Republicans in Congress to consult with the 33 Republican governors during the repeal and replacement process for Obamacare.

“Listen to the governors. The governors led the welfare reform. We’ve dramatically changed welfare at the direction of the Republican governors when Republicans were in charge of the Congress. They need to do the same thing now. Obamacare from the get-go was unaffordable and unsustainable. The federal mandates have really been damaging to a lot of taxpayers,” Branstad said.

“Their healthcare costs have gone through the roof. We need to repeal it and replace it with something that’s workable and recognize that different states are in different situations, and we need to make sure that what they do is something the governors can manage in their own individual states. I feel confident we can get that done. We just want the Congress to listen to the recommendations coming from the Republican governors,” he added.


When asked if the public exchanges under Obamacare should stay as part of a new GOP plan, Branstad replied, “I’m not going to get into the details of that because we’ve been working and ours staffs have been working for some time on that, and I’m confident that eventually we will have a recommendation that we hope the Congress will support.”


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