Only two weeks after the United States Department of Justice refused assistance to North Dakota law enforcement dealing with the Dakota Access Pipeline protest, the federal government has now called upon the Morton County Sheriff’s Department for assistance removing protesters from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lands.
In a letter to Sheriff Kirchmeier, Col. John Henderson, Omaha District Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, requests assistance from law enforcement to remove trespassing protesters from federal lands. According to the letter, the Corps has not provided any permits for permissions for anyone to access that area of federal property, it has also not been opened to public use for recreation or camping. The letter also includes a map of the area where the Corps is requesting assistance to remove the protesters.
It’s ironic that despite the failure of the federal government to provide resources to the state government, local and state officials are still being tasked by the federal government with removing the protesters. Even more ironic is that the Secretary of the Army, a political appointee by President Obama, was one of the signatory parties to a letter encouraging a stoppage of construction and further review of the project despite the work already conducted by Col. Henderson’s District and two other Corps districts with jurisdiction over the pipeline route. These political actions have in fact allowed the protests to continue despite multiple federal orders that pipeline construction should continue.
Recent comments by the administration have also done no service to law enforcement who are struggling to keep law and order in the area, protect property and workers, and have exercised considerable restraint despite multiple violent actions during protester’s resistance to removal from illegally occupied land. It’s becoming more clear that for officials in Washington these protests are a political football to be kicked around, rather than a safety issue for thousands of Americans who need immediate relief to protect themselves and their property from harm by violent protesters willing to stop at nothing to get their way.
Sadly, it’s also become clear that Mr. Obama is so far removed from the events on the ground, even when his District Commanders are crying out for help, nobody in the Administration is listening.