The governor of North Dakota has ordered an “emergency evacuation” of the several hundred protesters at the Dakota Access pipeline construction site because of adverse weather conditions.
The details of how the order would be enforced remained unclear, but the governor added that it will remain in effect until rescinded. One reason for the evacuation is that the camp sites of the protesters have not been zoned for appropriate housing, according to the AP.
Reuters quoted the leader of the protest, the Standing Rock’s chairman Dave Archambault II, as saying the evacuation order was an attempt on the part of the Republican governor to “cause fear” and “usurp and circumvent federal authority.”
The emergency evacuation order comes a few days after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the protesters they had until December 5 to leave. The Army Corps manages the land plot, telling the Standing Rock protesters on Friday that they would need to vacate it, as the official letter said, “to protect the general public from the violent confrontation between protesters and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions.”
The Corps added in a follow-up statement at the time that it was not planning to forcibly remove people from the camp.
The US$3.8-billion Dakota Access pipeline has been in the public eye for several months now because of this particular segment that would pass near Standing Rock lands. Recently, the company behind it, Energy Transfer Partners, said that it did not consider rerouting the pipeline in order to appease the local communities and their supporters, but instead offered a bilateral meeting with representatives of the tribe to discuss the problem.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.