Massive Cleanup Underway Where Environmentalists Camped for Pipeline Protest
A cleanup to prevent an "environmental disaster" is underway at a protest camp near the Dakota Access Pipeline. The camp had been occupied by thousands of environmentalists and Native Americans who were demonstrating against the pipeline project.
It was the Native Americans who requested help with the cleanup, as massive amounts of garbage, human waste, teepees, and abandoned vehicles must be removed before the spring thaw when flooding is expected.
Clean-up crews are racing to clear acres of debris at the largest Dakota Access protest camp before the spring thaw turns the snowy, trash-covered plains into an environmental disaster area.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that the camp, located on federal land, would be closed Feb. 22 in order to “prevent injuries and significant environmental damage in the likely event of flooding in this area” at the mouth of the Cannonball River in North Dakota.
“Without proper remediation, debris, trash, and untreated waste will wash into the Cannonball River and Lake Oahe,” the Corps said in its statement.
Those involved in the clean-up effort, led by the Standing Rock Sioux, say it could take weeks for private sanitation companies and volunteers to clear the expanse of abandoned tents, teepees, sleeping bags, blankets, canned food, supplies and just plain garbage littering the Oceti Sakowin camp.
“It’s unfortunate. Again, that just goes against what they’re fighting against, is leaving that stuff and abandoning it and obviously the environment the river,” Scott Davis, North Dakota Commissioner for Indian Affairs, told KFYR-TV in Bismarck.
Mind boggling. The obliviousness of "environmentalists" who bury a camp under several feet of garbage and human waste is beyond belief. You probably can't generalize about the age and socio-economic status of these hypocrites, but it sure sounds like there were a lot of rich millennials throwing around trash, defecating wherever the mood hit them, and then running away back to mommy during the first snowstorm, leaving behind a mess for others to clean up.
Many of the several hundred protesters who remained after the early December snowstorm are helping with the effort, some of them attempting to salvage reusable goods. Other activists have been less helpful.
The operation was delayed Wednesday, when activists tried to set up a camp on private property owned by the Dakota Access pipeline company and blocked Highway 1806, resulting in 76 arrests.
The highly charged situation made it too dangerous for drivers with Dakota Sanitation to move in and out of the camp near the town of Cannon Ball, Mr. Doering said.
“It just wasn’t safe, given that they had blocked the road,” he said. “It was doubtful that they were going to let the trucks in, and then the operation pretty much took all day to evict the protesters.”
Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman Dave Archambault II has urged protesters for months to vacate the area, citing the environmental damage to the prairie as well as the risk to people and property from the flooding.
“Please, once again, we ask that people do not return to camp,” Mr. Archambault said after the arrests. “The fight is no longer here, but in the halls and courts of the federal government. Here at the camp, those who remain should be working together to help clean and restore the land.”