North Dakota is prepared to save pipeline protesters from freezing to death

The protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline have been ordered to vacate the area. (Again) Of course, the federal government isn’t really very serious about enforcing the order and the protesters don’t seem to show any real inclination to leave. That’s going to be a problem fairly soon for two reasons:

1. They’re in North Dakota.

2. It’s December.

I’ve only been in North Dakota once in the deep of winter and then only briefly. I have very few memories of that time except for waking up screaming and wondering if I’d died and done something to deserve an eternity in that sort of purgatory. For the natives (including the Native Americans from the region) this won’t be too much of a big deal. They have the clothes and equipment to deal with those conditions and they’ve been there, done that before. But if you happen to be part of a crew of AstroTurf paid protesters from the coast who were shipped in to harass the oil industry, this could turn into a lethal situation pretty quickly.

Rather than taking advantage of this fact and welcoming a chance to clear out the interlopers, government officials are preparing for the worst and are ready to step in and save these morons from themselves. (Associated Press)

The head of North Dakota’s emergency management services says the state is prepared to respond to Dakota Access pipeline protesters who may need help during a winter storm or some other crisis.

State Homeland Security Director Greg Wilz said it would be a “huge challenge,” especially during a mass evacuation, but his office has winter shelter plans in place and various agencies are ready to respond.

“The bottom line here is, if we are in a situation of life and limb, we are going to be humane in anything and everything we do,” Wilz said. “We aren’t going to let somebody out there freeze. So if they start evacuating en masse looking for shelter — which I highly suspect will happen — we would take care of that.”

Sounds like a plan to me, but it remains unclear just how much cooperation there is between the state and federal government agencies on this one. The Justice Department still seems to be more concerned with the success of the protest than the rule of law. Still, the Attorney General claimed that they were in there offering their help. This was a claim which came as news to the local Sheriff’s department.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said Lynch contacted him by phone Friday to discuss the situation.

“While I appreciate the Attorney General taking the time to reach out to me, neither assistance for law enforcement nor a timeline for resolution was offered,” Kirchmeier said in a statement. “I hope the dialogue continues, but it’s time for more actions from the federal government, not more words.”

Look, I’m not saying we should let the protesters freeze to death out there. Not even I’m that much of a monster. But if we’re going to spend the money to save these people who are obviously intent on violating the law, there’s no reason not to take advantage of the conditions. When the first real blizzard is forecast to show up, there’s no need to set up any “warming houses” to accommodate that many people. All we really need is a long line of nicely heated buses. And once they’re full of the rescued protesters, they could ferry them down the highway to someplace warmer… like a jail.