Morton County, N.D., officials respond to executive action to advance DAPL
January 25, 2017
MANDAN, N.D. – Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier and Morton County Commission Chairman Cody Schulz responded to the executive action signed by President Trump that directs all federal agencies to expedite the approval of the easement to complete construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
The Morton County Sheriff's Department is monitoring the area of the camps in the event that protesters choose to gather in opposition to the executive action. While the department does not release details of its operational plans and strategies or confirm the number of law enforcement it has available to respond at any given time, the department does have plans to respond and deal with any potential protest activities that may become unlawful. This is prudent when it comes to what the department does and how it prepares for situations.
"I would like to remind any protesters to please remain peaceful and lawful in your actions," Kirchmeier said. "Protesters have a right to take a position on the pipeline, but they do not have the right to break the law. To introduce rule of law within the camp, we will be asking the Trump administration for much-needed law enforcement support and public safety resources, requests that were ignored by the last administration. North Dakota residents expect us to hold these unlawful actors accountable; even the Standing Rock Sioux tribe – who has hosted the protest camps – have asked the protestors to leave out of fear that their presence could pollute the waters they claim to protect. This is not about the pipeline or the protests, it is about the rule of law."
"We are hopeful that this announcement brings us closer to finality in what has been an incredibly challenging time for our citizens and law enforcement professionals. Having dealt with riots, violence, trespassing and property crimes, the people of Morton County are looking forward to getting back their normal lives," Schulz said. "This decision is encouraging because it shows that the federal government is finally interested in the rule of law. It is said that America has a 'government of laws, not men.' There is a legal and regulatory process in place for a reason – so everyone knows what the rules are, and those rules are applied objectively."
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Facebook page shared the following statement regarding the executive order:
"Today, Trump announced an executive order on DAPL; it not only violates the law, but it violates tribal treaties. Nothing will deter us from our fight for clean water.
"We will be taking legal action, and will take this fight head on.
"We urge you to fight and stand tall beside us. The EIS statement is still in process, so please submit your comments…This helps us compound our claim that the pipeline poses grave environmental risks.
"Please also call your congressional representatives and let them know that the people do not stand behind today's decision.
"Stand together as one and we will not fall."