Dakota Access Pipeline protesters said over the weekend that they will stay at their camp despite the Army Corps of Engineers telling them to leave the federal land that they have occupied to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.
John W. Henderson, a district commander with the Corps, wrote a letter to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s leader saying that the area will be closed by December 5th and any protesters that are north of the Cannonball River will be trespassing and subject to prosecution.
“This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontations between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions,” the letter read.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s chairman, Dave Archambault II released a statement over the weekend expressing their disappointment with the decision to build the pipeline north of the reservation.
“Our Tribe is deeply disappointed in this decision by the United States, but our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever,” the statement read. “We ask that all everyone who can appeal to President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the future of our people and rescind all permits and deny the easement to cross the Missouri River just north of our Reservation and straight through our treaty lands. When Dakota Access Pipeline chose this route, they did not consider our strong opposition.”
Archambault and other protest organizers said that they planned to stay in the Oceti Sakowin camp, one of the camps near the construction site.
“Our state and local law enforcement agencies continue to do all they can to keep private property and public infrastructure free from unpermitted protest activities, and it’s past time that the federal government provides the law enforcement resources needed to support public safety and to enforce their own order to vacate,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a statement.
Sen. John Hoeven urged protesters, who call themselves “water protectors”, to leave the area.
“The well-being and property of ranchers, farmers and everyone else living in the region should not be threatened by protesters who are willing to commit acts of violence,” he said in a statement.