The federal government denied a $38 million reimbursement request from Governor Doug Burgum for the eight month long protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline
Spokesperson for Burgum said on Wednesday that the disaster declaration submitted in April was denied weeks later
$20 million of the requested $38 million is said to have gone to law enforcement salaries and overtime
The state also requested $13.85 million from the Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Program in late June
In April, first-term Republican Governor Doug Burgum wrote a letter to President Donald Trump requesting reimbursement for costs during the 8-month long protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.
Burgum became governor on December 15, 2016, making the situation in Standing Rock a problem he inherited from Governor Jack Dalrymple. On Wednesday, Mike Nowatzki, a spokesperson for Burgum, said the disaster declaration was denied roughly three weeks after it was requested in April.
The State of North Dakota and Morton County spent $38 million in the 233 days of protests against DAPL, and it is said that is not the final cost as bills are still coming in. According to Department of Emergency Services spokesperson Cecily Fong, $20 million of the cost went towards the 1,400 law enforcement officers’ salaries and overtime. The other $18 million went towards equipment, supplies and all other costs.
Had Burgum’s disaster declaration gone through, the federal government would have reimbursed 75% of all the costs. The remaining 25% would then be split between Morton County and the state.
Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Program
In late June the state put in a request for $13.85 million through the Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Program. While the request would only act as a partial recovery, state officials are still exploring other options to recover the full $38 million.
The key argument for the state’s request is that DAPL protests occurred on federal land, yet the federal government did nothing to stop them. The use of militarized law enforcement brought international concern due to the clear violations of Constitutional, civil, and human rights when responding to civil disobedience. In total, over 700 arrests were made during the eight month period.
Morton County Sheriff’s Department requested law enforcement from around the country to come to their aid, even though many agree that the tactics of a militarized police force and the presence of private security firms often forced situations to the point of extreme escalation.