DAPL: Protestors Wreak Havoc on Local Farmers and Ranchers

by Glenda Pavon  Image by Trevor Brine

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) would connect the Bakken with major markets in Illinois. The proposed path is almost 2,000km through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. In the case of Bakken crude, the DAPL is very much needed for transport. Bakken crude is volatile, which has led to explosions and train derailments. Without the pipeline, the less safe transport methods of rail and truck will continue to be used. The pipeline passes through several Indian reservations and there are concerns, like the Keystone Pipeline before it, that it could impact not just sacred tribal areas but also the water supply. Pipeline projects like the DAPL and the Keystone are becoming increasingly difficult to complete due to strong opposition.

What are the incentives to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline? With hundreds of protestors camping out in Southern North Dakota in protest of the pipeline, one wonders if virtue is enough to get someone to face not so polite treatment by police and live outdoors. As it turns out, virtue may not be the only incentive. From crowdfunding to ads on Craigslist offering payment to protest, protesting is a business for protestors. These incentives to protest are attracting all kinds of people that may just be looking for something to do. There are around 2,500 protestors living in different camps throughout the area. There are many news stories about accusations of inhumane treatment by police but perhaps there is another reality to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests- that those incentivized to protest for the wrong reasons are growing more belligerent and are a harm to residents and animals of the surrounding areas.

A Craigslist ad offering payment for those willing to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock protest campsite was discovered by North Dakota law enforcement and media outlets last week. The ad offered $1,000 to anyone who could prove they quit their job to protest, $50 cash for each adult and $20 for each child that arrived the first night of the ad, as well as reimbursed travel and food expenses. According to law enforcement documents, the source of the money is various crowd-funding websites set up for by those who are affiliated with or sympathize with the Standing Rock Tribe. Not only has the general fund for the camp raised more than $750,000, but there are other fundraising web sites in support of the camp, including an Amazon Wish lists, support groups such as the Winterize Water Protectors, and Stand for Standing Rock. In Cannonball, North Dakota, crowd funding has gained $1,000,000. The fund, started by a protestor asking for $5,000, has increased as the number of protestors increased in recent months. What does the money pay for? For 670 people to eat, bail money, tiny houses, composting toilets, solar and wind generators, and medical areas. The protests, which have been ongoing since late summer, are increasingly violent putting both protestors and law enforcement in danger.

Local landowners, ranchers, and farmers in Southern North Dakota claim that protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline are wreaking havoc on livestock. The latest plea against protestors is from enrolled Standing Rock Sioux tribal members, who claim that around 30 of their buffalo are missing due to being killed and eaten, or irresponsibly let loose by protestors. Other buffalo are simply running in circles and collapsing into one another after violent outbursts between protestors and police. Locals feel that protestors have ignored pleas for peaceful protests and that protestors are no longer welcome. The local livestock association has offered rewards on information regarding the shooting, butchering, chasing, and burning of dozens of horses, cows, and bison. Locals feel that the more belligerent protestors are responsible for the deaths but peaceful protestors are also threatening the livestock because of the undue stress. Last year, the couple had the most successful buffalo sale in the US, but they aren’t expecting to repeat those numbers this year. They add that many of the female buffalo will not have new calves due to the stress the protests have caused. She also adds that roadblocks will prevent buyers from reaching the ranch.

With the Obama administration delaying a decision on the final permit for the pipeline, locals can expect weeks or months more of damage caused by protestors.

dapl-protestors

Image Source: Trevor Brine, CBC. http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/standing-rock-camps-grow-1.3752623

Kerry Picket. Craigslist ad offers money to protest Dakota Access Pipeline. dailycaller.com. November 16, 2016. http://dailycaller.com/2016/11/16/craigslist-ad-offers-money-to-protest-dakota-access-pipeline/

Valerie Richardson. Reservation ranchers struggle to keep buffalo alive amid N.D. pipeline protests. The Washington Times. Washingtontimes.com. November 14, 2016. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/14/dakota-access-pipeline-reservation-ranchers-strugg

 Associated Press. Dakota Access Pipeline Protestors crow-source for $5,000 get $1 million. October 31, 2016. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dakota-access-pipeline-protesters-crowdsource-5000-get-1-million/

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