Delegation, Governor Call on Administration to Provide Federal Law Enforcement Resources to Protect Public

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, Congressman Kevin Cramer and Governor Jack Dalrymple today called on the U.S. Justice Department to provide law enforcement resources to ensure public safety during ongoing demonstrations in North Dakota.

In a conference call with officials from the Department of Justice, Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers, the delegation and governor asked specifically for:

• Immediate additional federal law enforcement officers to assist local law enforcement in their efforts to keep the peace.
• Federal funding to cover the cost of additional policing. The state has already spent $1.8 million to date, and estimates it will spend approximately $125,000 a week based on current circumstances.
• A clear and timely resolution on the Dakota Access Pipeline project, apart from any review of the current process for consulting with tribes in the future.

“Today, we called on the Department of Justice to provide more law enforcement officers to North Dakota to work with state and local law enforcement and ensure public safety,” Hoeven said. “We’ve also called on both the district and deputy director of the Corps to resolve the Dakota Access Pipeline issue. After careful consideration, the court has decided that the project can proceed. Now everyone needs to follow the law. If the administration wants to review the process for consulting tribes on public infrastructure projects, it should do so prospectively, not retroactively.”

“What’s most important here is public safety, which is why we’re asking the federal government to help provide resources to help our state and local law enforcement officers keep everyone in our tribes, our families, and our communities safe,” said Heitkamp. “As I said earlier today in our conversation with the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the Army Corps of Engineers, we need to work together – at all levels of government – to guarantee public safety. Going forward, I’ll keep pushing the Corps and other federal agencies for the predictability we need to resolve this issue quickly and safely.”

“Since the Administration created this problem, it has the obligation to fix it,” said Cramer. “It’s long past time to restore order.”

“With its decision on Friday to delay the pipeline project, the federal government shares in the responsibility of making sure that peace and order are maintained,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said.

The delegation and governor also sent a letter Wednesday to the Justice Department, Department of the Interior and Army Corps of Engineers calling for a timely resolution of the issue and requesting a meeting with the agencies, the tribal leader and the company to reach an agreement.

“As a result of your delay, North Dakota is experiencing a strain on its law enforcement resources,” the delegation and governor wrote. The Governor and Tribal Leaders have requested assistance to help North Dakota with its law enforcement effort and to help with public safety. We urge you to follow through on your joint release and begin planning immediately for cost share reimbursement and manpower that will be needed to support state and local law enforcement as they continue to provide public safety.

“In addition, we request a meeting with the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps), North Dakota’s governor, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and the company to discuss this matter and work toward a solution, as the Administration’s unprecedented announcement warrants further clarification.”

The joint release also committed the Justice and Interior departments to “deploy resources to North Dakota to help state, local, and tribal authorities, and the communities they serve, better communicate, defuse tensions, support peaceful protest, and maintain public safety.”