Land Protectors at North Dakota State Capitol in Bismarck. State Police “keeping” peace. Photo by Shane McSauby
Published September 15, 2016
BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA – Anticipating a long stay by the land protectors at the encampment near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services has asked the North Dakota Emergency Commission to authorize a loan up to $6 million from the Bank of North Dakota.
The emergency funds will help offset a budget shortfall that has arisen as the result of added law enforcement’s overtime utilized and other associated costs expended since the encampment swelled to thousands after arrests began last month.
“This dollar amount will take us to December, ” Cecily Fong, a North Dakota Department of Emergency Services spokesperson told Native News Online on Thursday, September 15, 2016. “We hope there will be some resolution and we will not need all of the $6 million. We will only draw down funds as needed.”
This comes one day after North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple asked for federal assistance of $1.8 million because of the funds already spent on increased law enforcement.
Land protectors have vowed to stay as long as it takes to defeat the Dakota Access pipeline. The number of people staying at the encampment, which consists of American Indians from all parts of Indian Country, has risen to over 7,000 according to some estimates.
Fong said winters in North Dakota can be extremely bitter with temperatures that can go double-digits below zero.
“The biggest challenge for us has been law enforcement. We have had to get extra help to Morton County, which has been spread thin,” says Fong. Last Thursday, the governor deployed the North Dakota national guard. “I don’t know the exact duration they will remain deployed, but I anticipate they will be until this is over,” added Fong.
The Emergency Commission consists of four North Dakota state legislators, all of whom are Republican, according to the commission’s webpage.