In North Dakota yesterday (February 23), opponents to the Dakota Access Pipeline who had remained at the Oceti Sakowin Camp faced arrest as roughly 50 armed local, state and out-of-state law enforcement entered the camp to clear it out, according to Reuters. The National Guard also provided support.
Morton County Sheriff’s Department made a total of 46 arrests, according to a press release. One of those apprehended was Regina Brave, a 76-year-old Wounded Knee veteran. By 2 p.m. CT, law enforcement were done evacuating the camp.
— NDResponse (@NDResponse) February 23, 2017
“The past two days have gone very smoothly in a challenging environment and complex effort to clear the camp,” said North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum in a press release. “Dozens of local, state and federal agencies showed tremendous coordination to ensure the process was conducted safely and securely. Law enforcement exercised restraint and demonstrated professionalism in every respect.”
At the White House press briefing yesterday, a reporter asked press secretary Sean Spicer if President Donald Trump had been briefed about what was currently happening at the camps.
To that, Spicer responded, “Our team has been involved with both the tribe and the governor there, and so … we are constantly in touch with them.”
However, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II released a statement yesterday debunking Spicer’s statement.
“That claim is absolutely false. We repeatedly asked for meetings with the Trump administration, but never received one until the day they notified Congress that they were issuing the easement. I was on a plane to Washington, D.C. when I learned the easement was issued. It was an insult to me and to the Tribe. I cancelled the meeting upon hearing this news. We have since filed a lawsuit for the immoral and illegal issuance of the easement and suspension of the environmental impact study.”
Currently, construction on the 1,172-mile long pipeline is 99 percent finished, according to Reuters. Trump said yesterday, reports CNBC, that this pipeline, as well as the Keystone XL and all following ones, must use U.S. steel, but it’s unclear if the project developers have been using it all along.
The tribe has ongoing litigation against developer Energy Transfer Partners to prevent oil from flowing through the pipeline and is waiting to hear from the company after giving them a three-week response time on February 14.