January 16 2017
Jillian Kay Melchior
North Dakota announced last week that the policing the Dakota Access pipeline protests has cost more than $22 million—“an amount that would fund the state Treasury Department for two decades and $5 million more than the state set aside last year,” ABC News reports.
Here are the details:
State-related enforcement costs have surpassed $20 million, with agencies such as the Corrections Department and Transportation Department using money from their own budgets with the intent of repaying it later, according to Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong. Morton County, where most of the protest activity has taken place, has another $2.5 million in costs not covered by the state, bringing the total cost to taxpayers to nearly $22.5 million. Most of the money is going to pay personnel costs.
These astronomical costs belie the Standing Rock protestors claims that these protests are “peaceful and prayerful.”
As of mid-December, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department had arrested more than 565 people in connection with the protests, many of them for violent behavior.
The Associated Press reported in November that the protests “have created an unprecedented burden for the state’s court system, which faces huge cost overruns and doesn’t have enough judges, lawyers and clerks to handle the workload.”
Learn more about the Standing Rock protests and the Dakota Access Pipeline here.