This week the state of North Dakota scored a big victory in its battle to recoup $38 million in costs incurred policing protests of the Dakota Access pipeline more than 3 years ago.
U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Traynor denied a motion from the federal government to dismiss North Dakota’s lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Judge Traynor wrote that the Corps failed in complying with its own mandatory permitting process, ultimately leaving no limitation on protest gatherings and no bond available to pay for cleanup; he added “Here, the maxim applies: ‘You break it, you bought it.'”
Below is a statement that can be attributed to me, Craig Stevens, spokesman for the GAIN Coalition:
“We commend Judge Traynor’s decision to grant North Dakota a path forward to recouping $38 million of taxpayer money spent in peacekeeping efforts during the Dakota Access protests. At the time, the Obama Administration abrogated its responsibility to enforce the law on federal lands – leading to thousands of activists convening near and around the lawfully permitted pipeline site. The federal government’s inaction required the state and local authorities to step in to protect the lives and property of the workers, landowners, and even the protesters.
“Unfortunately, the Obama Administration placed a higher priority on capitulating to anti-U.S. energy extremists than in doing their job. The state of North Dakota is right to recoup this money from the federal government.”