Are left-wing protesters the equivalent of a natural disaster? It may sometimes seem that way but the Trump administration rejected a request by the Governor of North Dakota to declare the scene of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests a disaster area. The Governor was looking for the feds to help with the massive $38 million spent policing the protests. From the Seattle Times:
The governor was notified in May that the request was denied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said. The governor’s office didn’t announce the denial until reporters asked about it this week.
The denial was not unexpected because such declarations typically involve natural disasters, and not “civil-unrest-related disasters,” Nowatzki said.
“It wasn’t a surprise to us,” Nowatzki said. “We knew it was a longshot.”
The claim that the feds bear some responsibility for this is far less of a stretch than it might at first appear. Remember that the main camp where, at its peak, several thousand protesters were living, was on federal land. The police were able to remove the protesters from private land when they tried to set up camp there but were not able to remove people from the federal land. The Obama administration didn’t move to close that land until late November. And even then, the government didn’t enforce the closure.
Meanwhile, the pipeline’s developer has offered to help cover some of the costs. From the Bismark Tribune:
Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners has “made an offer to help the state with these costs as we know it placed a great burden on the state,” said spokeswoman Vicki Granado, who added that they “are thankful to law enforcement for ensuring the safety of our employees, our assets and those who live and work in the area.”…
“As the governor has said all along, everything is on the table,” Burgum’s spokesman Mike Nowatzki said when asked whether the governor is open to ETP’s offer.
I suspect the Governor will have to take the company up on this since they are the only organization with deep pockets offering to help.