Feds move in to clean Dakota pipeline camp
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has moved into the evacuated Dakota Access pipeline protest camp to finish the cleanup started weeks ago by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
A Florida-based company has been hired to provide trash removal and environmental cleanup in the main Oceti Sakowin camp on the north side of the Cannonball River and the smaller Rosebud camp on the south side. Both are on federal land.
Authorities this week cleared the last holdouts from the camp near the Standing Rock Reservation, which straddles the North Dakota and South Dakota border. Thousands of people stayed there before the area was buried in winter blizzards.
Corps officials say about 240 dumpsters have been hauled out of the main camp, each brimming with debris of old food stores, structures, tents, building materials and abandoned personal belongings.
The corps and the tribe are doing a cultural survey to see if any special items, such as teepees, require separate handling and consultation. The contract also included a special environmental crew to deal with any potentially hazardous or toxic materials.
Tribal contractors were helping to clear the Rosebud site, including Logan Thompson, who brought skid steers, loaders and a crew of 10. “I’m hoping if it stays cold like this, by Monday we could be done,” he said.
Many protesters moved into other camps on the reservation. Tribal officials, along with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, are moving to clear those camps and may get help from the state.
A spokesman for North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said the office supports Standing Rock’s efforts, but there are no definite plans to deploy any state resources. He said the North Dakota Highway Patrol can assist on public roadways, but using the National Guard requires an official request from either Sioux County or the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Street department employee Josh Barnhart, left, and street department supervisor Tom Whitaker unclog drains on a street in Pottsville, Pa., after heavy rains moved through the area.