Anti-pipeline graffiti defaces World War II memorial in D.C.
The North Dakota pillar of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., has been spray-painted with anti-pipeline graffiti, prompting the state’s congressman to call for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to denounce the vandalism.
The hashtag #NoDAPL was found written in black paint last week below the “North Dakota” inscription on the memorial in Washington. The message refers to the Dakota Access pipeline project.
The Standing Rock Sioux, whose reservation straddles North and South Dakota, is leading a protest with national environmental groups against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, which has drawn thousands of activists to the construction site near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
“Time for tribal leaders to denounce these lawless acts,” Rep. Kevin Cramer, North Dakota Republican, said on Twitter.
National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said the vandalism was discovered last Monday and that U.S. Park Police are investigating.
The graffiti has been treated once by the service’s preservation specialists and will require several more treatments, Mr. Litterst said.
“There are currently no security cameras at the World War II Memorial,” Park Police Sgt. Anna Rose said in a statement. “[Park Police] personnel are in the process of getting cameras installed there, though not as a result of this vandalism.”
More than 400 people have been arrested, mainly for trespassing and rioting on private land owned by the pipeline company, since the protest began Aug. 10. An estimated 1,500 to 2,500 protesters are camping out near the site, including on Army Corps of Engineers land.
Protesters have called for the Obama administration to stop the pipeline, saying it endangers the tribe’s water quality and sacred sites.
The pipeline’s supporters argue that such concerns were addressed during the permitting process.
Construction recently was completed on the pipeline leading up to Lake Oahe, which falls under the corps’ jurisdiction. The corps has said it will not release the final permit until it completes a review of the tribal consultation process.
The Standing Rock Sioux have made no public comment about the vandalism.
“This is so unfortunate, and so unnecessary, and so beyond anything having to do with a pipeline,” said Rob Port, a North Dakota radio talk show host and author of the SayAnything blog.
The North Dakota Public Service Commission announced that it would pursue a $15,000 fine against Dakota Access LLC for failing to notify the panel for 10 days after discovering rock stacks, or cairns, and other artifacts along the pipeline route.
The construction team did react to the discovery by stopping work, notifying the State Historic Preservation Office, bringing in an archaeologist, and developing an alternate route to avoid the site, according to the commission.
The protest has drawn support from celebrities such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, former Vice President Al Gore and actress Shailene Woodley.
Locals have complained about frequent roadblocks, school closures, fires and harm to livestock stemming from the protests.