Hoeven: Attorney General Loretta Lynch Needs to Provide Action, Not Just Words

WASHINGTON -- Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement in response to the discussion U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch had with Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier today regarding his request for federal law enforcement assistance to deal with violent protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline project, as well as the attorney general news release issued later in the day:

“U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is not working with the North Dakota delegation to address violent protests in Morton County, contrary to her claim. Subsequent to her conversation with Sheriff Kirchmeier, she issued a release asserting she is working with the delegation and the state to find a resolution. This is not the case. I want to be clear: we have repeatedly called on the Department of Justice and other federal agencies to provide both funding and more federal law enforcement officers to assist state and local law enforcement.

“In fact, right now, the Justice Department has an application submitted by the state for Byrne Grant funding, which is administered by Attorney General Lynch, to assist state and local law enforcement in containing the violence. She needs to approve that request without delay to protect people and property. In addition, she needs to provide more actual law enforcement personnel, rather than only advisors. Area residents are contending with a difficult and volatile situation, and the attorney general needs to act appropriately.

“To end this situation permanently, it is essential that the Obama administration approve the long overdue easement on Corps land necessary to complete the pipeline. Now that the Trump administration has made clear it supports the project, the Obama administration’s ongoing delay is clearly prolonging a difficult and volatile situation. At this point there is no further justification to delay a decision and subject North Dakotans in the protest area to additional weeks of hardship.”