Taxpayers will likely get the bill covering $38 million in North Dakota expenses connected to several months of protests against the Dakota Access pipeline. Not just North Dakota taxpayers but U.S. taxpayers as the state seeks money from the federal government.
The company building the $3.8 billion pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners based in Dallas has offered to pay the costs of law enforcement but the state hasn’t accepted. Were North Dakota to take the offer, it could present an ethical dilemma.
As one critic explained, it would look like Energy Transfer paid off the state for personal security. The offer was first made last fall.
“The governor hasn’t said whether the state will or won’t seek reimbursement from ETP, only that all options are on the table,” Mike Nowatzki, spokesman for Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, told the Associated Press.
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota is working to get the Army Corps of Engineers to reimburse the state while North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has discussed suing the federal government.
Protesters who created an encampment at the pipeline site were not just Native Americans from North Dakota. Environmentalists and tribal supporters came from Oklahoma and other states.