In the Oct. 20 issue of the Press & Dakotan, there is a News Watch article entitled “SD Counties On Hook For Keystone XL Protest Cost.” It states that several rural South Dakota counties could be required to pay millions of dollars in costs related to costs arising because of any protests of the Keystone XL pipeline. I am not arguing for or against that pipeline. I only think that those who protest, who are backed by big money, be required to pay for any damage they cause. If people can afford to spend weeks camping away from home and their work to protest this pipeline, they are certainly richer than the average person. Where is the money coming from that enables them to stay there for weeks or months at a time? Something is wrong with this picture. The counties or the state should not have to pay to clean up the mess that such people leave and to protect them while there.
I understand that in North Dakota the Corps of Engineers spent millions to clean up and were concerned that the mess left would contaminate the water there, and it did contaminate the land. If you want to protest the pipeline, do it peacefully and pick up after yourself. Is that too much to ask? And whoever is funding this should be made to pay for cleanup, if they can be found.
Then, in the Oct. 24 Press & Dakotan, a small article entitled “Lawsuit Filed Over Highway Shutdown” states that members of the Standing Rock Sioux are suing over a five-month shutdown of a North Dakota highway during the protests against the pipeline. Who was involved in those protests? The tribe was one of them. Now they are suing because the road was shut down, partly because of that protest. Something is wrong here. Not that people cannot protest, but do it in a clean way, respect other people’s property, and pick up after yourself. The people along the route are not responsible for the pipeline. They should not have to pay the consequences. It seems that to ask people to act decent is out of order these days.