This article appeared online at on Tuesday, May 2, 2017:  

When the last of the pipeline protesters were removed, some by force, from the Dakota Access campsites in late February, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier thought that would be the end of it, and folks could get back to their regular lives:

I am very happy to say that we finally introduced [the] rule of law in the Oceti camp. I am 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 to their normal lives.

Except for the bills. Many of those good citizens of Morton County, , lent a hand to law enforcement, offering volunteer services to help out. This included the local Comfort Inn, which offered free rooms to the protesters caught out in the cold. That Good Samaritan effort lasted until some of them trashed several rooms, leaving the bills for cleanup and repair to the owners.

Now North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, having added up all the bills, including the costs incurred by bringing in out-of-state security to augment local law enforcement and a cleanup company from Florida to remove the thousands of tons of debris and detritus the “environmentalists” left behind, is asking the federal government for reimbursement. He wants U.S. taxpayers to fork over $38 million, explaining:

Passionate causes, millions of dollars of anonymous protest funding (over $13.5 million from alone) and sophisticated and inflammatory social media campaigns have forever changed the nature, duration, and reach of unlawful protests. Sadly, I believe this will become the new normal in America.

The protesters/thugs/criminals got substantial support from the previous administration as well, said Burgum: “The situation was complicated by political interference from the previous White House administration [which] provided a lawless base of operations on federal land.” He added that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to “enforce its regulations and maintain law and order on its property.” All of which formed the basis for his demand for federal assistance:

Such inaction [by the administration] requires supplemental Federal assistance to mitigate the disproportionate expense experienced by local governments and the state of North Dakota.

As those protesters have moved on, leaving behind nearly indescribable amounts of trash, tents, rotting food, old automobiles, stray dogs, and human excrement, the question remains: Who is going to pay for the cleanup? The Morton County sheriff arrested 761 miscreants, nearly all of whom were from out of state. Who is paying for their legal defense, and for their fines if they can not afford to pay? How about the anonymous donors who enabled the protesters? Could they be found and billed? Is there some way to invoice them for the damage their rent-a-mob wrought? Is there some way to send a bill to ?

They are already protesting in Michigan (where they want an existing pipeline ripped out and rerouted), Louisiana, and Nebraska (the Keystone XL Pipeline). As those roving but obviously well-paid rioters move from place to place to vent their faux spleens over supposed environmental concerns, who gets to pay for the cleanup after they are either arrested or forced to vacate the premises?

Is this the “new normal” where roving bands of thugs, paid by anonymous donors, make against the citizenry without accountability? Is this how the war is paid for, by responding to demands such as those from North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum?

There are no easy answers. But the war against energy development and self-sufficiency being waged by the environmental zealots (and their anonymous enablers) has reached another level.

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