“We continue to have security measures in place in North Dakota, just no longer need boots on the ground,” pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) spokeswoman Vicki Granado said in an email to the AP. TigerSwan, the private company, told the AP that it stopped its North Dakota work with ETP near the end of June.
Investigative news site The Intercept exposed in May the operations of TigerSwan in North Dakota, ground zero for the battle against the 1,172-mile long interstate pipeline. The site found that the security agency was using counterterrorism tactics to monitor the protestors who were camping near the pipeline’s route and that call themselves “water protectors.” TigerSwan, on the other hand, compared the protestors to jihadist fighters.
ETP’s clarification to the AP comes a week after North Dakota’s Private Investigative and Security Board asked a state judge to discontinue TigerSwan’s work in the state. The private company had been operating without a license—after the board denied it one twice.
In September, the board notified the North Carolina-based security firm that it wasn’t properly licensed to do its security work with the energy company. This prompted TigerSwan to apply for a license, which the board denied in December. The application was denied again a month later.
However, water protectors contesting ETP projects in other states wonder whether TigerSwan will set up on their turf next.
In southern Louisiana, where local indigenous groups are challenging the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, a new camp has been set up: the L’eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life) Camp. Occupiers and protestors are taking extra security measures to prevent any infiltration or surveillance (as seen in North Dakota) from jeopardizing their efforts.