Dakota Access pipeline camp cleared of protesters

Tracy FergusonFeb 26, 2017

Two children were burned, one of them severely, at the Dakota Access camp evacuation Wednesday after remaining activists set fire to about 20 shelters and a vehicle in what was described as a departure ceremony.

June Sapiel, an Indian American from ME, also rejected the idea that the protesters in North Dakota had failed.

"We've very firm that the camp is now closed", Governor Doug Burgum, a Republican, told an evening news conference. The tribe is concerned the pipeline will affect their drinking water supply and place downstream communities at risk of contamination from potential oil spills, but has also exhorted protesters to leave - both for their own safety and for that of the environment, which hosted as many as 10,000 protesters at the movement's zenith.

Construction on DAPL was temporarily paused in September 2016 after President Barack Obama ordered a construction halt, but resumed after newly inaugurated President Donald Trump issued an executive order permitting the construction of the DAPL, along with another controversial pipeline project, Keystone XL.

Most of the protesters marched out of the area ahead of the 2 p.m. Wednesday deadline imposed by the Army Corps of Engineers. News reported that there were roughly 300 protesters left as the deadline approached, down from thousands at the protest's peak. "This isn't just about Standing Rock, but all the downstream communities who get their water from the Missouri River".

People camping in the area were given until 2 p.m. Wednesday.

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There was a near tragedy Wednesday as protesters intentionally set almost two dozen buildings inside the camp on fire.

The almost 1,200-mile pipeline is meant to transport domestically produced light crude oil from North Dakota through the states of South Dakota and Iowa into IL.

"I don't know if they had second thoughts, or we scared them", Herr said.

Thousands of protesters had occupied the campground on federal land between the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation and the construction site of DAPL since August 2016.

[Journalist Jenni] Monet said burning the tents was a way of cleansing the camp.

"I missed the feeling." said protestor Clarence Rowland, bundled up in a red sweater and purple hat as he walked around the few remaining tents in one of protestor camps.

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The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said Wednesday morning that it was closely monitoring law enforcement activity at the camp and called on "everyone to remain peaceful".

"We are following up on a hip injury involving someone who was arrested", said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier.

Authorities are bringing in buses to take protesters to Bismarck, where they will be offered assistance including water and snacks, a change of clothing, bus fare home, and food and hotel vouchers.

As police in full riot gear worked to arrest the stragglers, cleanup crews began razing buildings on the square-mile piece of property at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers.

Officers checked structures and began arresting people, putting them in vans to take to jail.

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