President Obama’s Easement Decision Failed to Ease Tension in the Federal Government’s Powder Keg in North Dakota

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Alexandria, VA – “The Obama Administration may have ruled on the Dakota Access Pipeline easement yesterday in Morton County, N.D., but that has done nothing to ease tensions in North Dakota,” Jonathan Thompson, CEO and Executive Director of the National Sheriffs’ Association, said today.  “Law enforcement in Morton County has already made at least one arrest today and has yet to see signs that violent protestor element’s intend to leave the camp. In fact, the protest leaders continue to stoke the passions of the violent, criminal members of the protest.”

“Law enforcement has repeatedly requested assistance from the Federal government and this past Sunday’s actions have, unfortunately, done nothing to alleviate the potential for more violence from the camp’s criminal elements,” Thompson said. 

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Friday in a video statement that she was deploying conciliators from the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service to North Dakota “to help support constitutional law enforcement, prevent violence, and to preserve peace and liberty in the protest area.” 

“The pipeline protesters remain on Federally-owned land. Now is the time for the Administration to send help in the form of U.S. Marshalls, Department of Homeland Security Border Control Agents and Bureau of Indian Affairs officers to its federal land to enforce its Dec. 5th deadline to remove the violent elements from the protester community and return peace and the rule of law to North Dakota,” Thompson said.

“For sheriffs this has always been about protecting the communities in North Dakota, and the constitutional rights of all parties.  We continue to ask elected officials to pressure the Obama Administration to assist North Dakota law enforcement with funding and personnel.