North Dakota’s Republican governor issued an order Wednesday night mandating that all those occupying campsites along the Dakota Access Pipeline evacuate the area immediately.
Gov. Doug Burgum issued the order to accelerate cleanup efforts to avoid a possible ecological disaster from the 4.5 million pounds of garbage protesters have left behind. Unseasonably warm temperatures, the note states, prompted the need for protesters to evacuate the flood-plain areas in Morton and Sioux counties by no later than Feb. 22.
“All persons occupying or residing in the evacuation area shall immediately begin efforts to remove their person property and possessions from evacuated area,” Burgum’s order states. It allows for protesters to return and remove the rest of their things once temperatures drop and the area is cleared.
Sanitation crews have been working around-the-clock to clean up the debris from the DAPL construction site.
Relevant personnel are combing the site for dead bodies rolled up in tarps, as well as weapons that could be used against Morton County police officers. They are using bulldozers and earth-moving equipment to scrape the area clean of debris.
More than 10,000 activists and Indian American tribes settled at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers to derail the highly controversial DAPL, which would shuttle 500,000 barrels of Bakken oil from North Dakota to Illinois.
Standing Rock Sioux, one of the tribes opposing the multi-state project, believes the multi-billion project could poison the Missouri River and trample tribal grounds. Cultural surveys conducted last year by the Army Corps of Engineers, however, show the pipeline avoided tribal lands.
The tribe ordered occupiers to leave the area after the Obama administration rejected the nearly-2,000-mile long pipeline in December. Activists lingered in the area until President Donald Trump signed an order in January after taking office approving the DAPL.
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