Cleanup of Dakota Access Pipeline protest camps cost $1.1 million
The protest camps at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline have finally been cleaned up, and the effort has cost the U.S. taxpayer more than a million dollars.
There were never more than a couple of thousand environmental activists inhabiting the camps, but they left behind an astonishing amount of garbage.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wrapped up its $1.1 million cleanup of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camps on federal land in North Dakota, hauling away 835 dumpsters of remaining trash and debris. The site, once occupied by thousands of environmental demonstrators, is now vacant.
The federal cleanup at the last of the three camps, Sacred Stone, was declared finished Thursday.
A Florida sanitation company completed work that began Feb. 23 to hasten the massive restoration project started in late January by the Standing Rock Sioux.
Meanwhile, a local animal shelter rescued four more dogs found at the North Dakota encampment, bringing the total number of dogs found after the last of the protesters evacuated to 12.
"We are happy to report that all animals have been accounted for throughout the Dakota Access Pipeline protest sites," Furry Friends Rockin' Rescue of Bismarck-Mandan said in an online post.
The tribe, aided by state and local agencies as well as some protest volunteers, launched the cleanup over concerns that snowmelt would inevitably wash tons of garbage and waste left by protesters into the Cannonball River.
Corps Capt. Ryan Hignight said a total of 8,170 cubic yards of debris was removed from the three camps — Sacred Stone, Oceti Sakowin and Rosebud — all within the flood plain on federally managed land.
"In total, there were 835 roll-off dumpsters of trash and debris removed from the three camps together," Capt. Hignight said in an email.
Some items, including propane tanks and lumber, were set aside for recycling, The Associated Press reported.
The crew cleaned up only garbage on federal land. Sacred Stone, where 2,160 cubic yards of debris were removed, is partially on tribal land.
"I am unable to confirm if the camp not located on corps-managed land is clean," said Capt. Hignight.
Kudos to the Sioux Nation for taking some responsibility for the mess, even though most of the garbage was not on tribal lands.
That said, is there any better illustration of the stupidity, the hypocrisy of activists who claim to revere the land but end up dumping thousands of tons of garbage and human waste on a flood plain? It's not surprising that ignorant, moralistic activists would have despoiled land they claimed was being threatened by the pipeline. Nor is it surprising that they are blissfully unaware of their disconnect from reality.
What's surprising is that other environmental groups are remaining silent about this travesty. Federal, local, and state government should look into assessing various groups a cleanup fee as punishment to prevent this outrage from ever being repeated.