After nearly a year since the first protest camp sprung up in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, it looks as if the Governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, has finally had enough and has signed an executive order demanding that protesters evacuate by February 22nd.
Ironically, environmental damage caused by the protesters, including "months of accumulated debris, and human waste generated by the populations that have occupied the aforementioned areas," and the resulting risk posed to the waters of the Missouri River was cited by the Governor as the primary reason for the eviction notice. Per the Executive Order:
WHEREAS, large populations have ignored the November 28, 2016 evacuation order detailed in Governor's Executive Order 2016-08 and the separate eviction order issued by the United States Army Corps of Engineers on November 25, 2016. These populations continue to unlawfully occupy and reside in flood-prone areas...
WHEREAS, months of accumulated debris, including human waste generated by the populations that have occupied the aforementioned areas of Morton and Sioux Counties pose a significant and increasing environment threat to the waters of the Missouri River if cleanup and removal efforts are not quickly accelerated and completed before flooding begins...
WHEREAS, the presence of accumulated waste, abandoned vehicles and unlawful temporary and permanent dwelling structures in this flood-prone area has created significant health and public safety risks as well as environment hazards, even absent imminent flooding...
All persons occupying or residing in the evacuation area are ordered to leave the area no later than 2 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22,2017.
The full Executive Order can be read here:
Of course, this executive order comes after the US Army Corps said in a court filing earlier this month that it had granted the final easement needed to finish the controversial pipeline. The easement was needed for Energy Transfer Partners to complete work on the last pipeline portion located under Lake Oahe.
And for those of you not familiar with this ongoing saga, the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline will bring crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken shale region to Patoka, Illinois, and from there connect to the Gulf of Mexico, where many U.S. refineries are located.
Finally, here is a compilation video of protesters efforts to disrupt the pipeline over the past several months...it was a valiant effort.