The stand at Standing Rock, North Dakota is over – and in the end, nothing was accomplished.

Six months of protests covered by a sympathetically outraged press and adoring celebrities resulted in an order by an outgoing president that was rescinded by the incoming president.

From August 2016 to March 2017, 700 people were arrested, not for protesting, but on theft and violence charges. Of those, 92 percent were not members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, but paid agitators bussed in from out of state and paid. Over 200 had prior criminal records.

They were there, they said, to support the tribe’s action against the Army Corps of Engineers to court to ostensibly protect their land and water from the pollution that would be created by the construction of the final piece of the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline that goes through four states.

The project is expected to be completed within weeks.

When the winter snows came, most of the protesters left; those that remained behind were forced by Gov. Doug Burgum to evacuate for their own safety.

But when at last the protesters had gone, the water the Sioux tribe claimed must be kept pristine and sacred and free from the environmental damage the pipeline “might” cause was anything but pristine.

The protesters had created an environmental crisis – not a speculative one, not one that might occur, or could occur, but a real and immediate danger to the water and all living things in it and downstream from it.

Now, the Army Corps has finally completed cleaning up the disaster created by the protesters in a hurried attempt to avoid the outbreak of diseases created by more than 1,000 tons of waste left on the site.

The camp was situated at the confluence of the Cannonball-Missouri Rivers that had significance as a Native American trading post, but the protesters had treated it as anything but sacred.

Huge mounds of garbage turned the sacred grounds into an environmental disaster with abandoned vehicles, tents, blankets, clothing, lumber, building materials, propane tanks and human waste were left behind on the flood plain to be washed into the river with the spring snowmelt.

A month after the last of the squatters left, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the cleanup of the federal land at a cost to taxpayers of $1.1 million – it is not known whether tribal land has been cleared.

In the end, 8,170 cubic yards of garbage filled 835 rollaway dumpsters, according to Corps. Capt. Ryan Hignight.

But garbage wasn’t the only thing the protesters left behind.
They left dogs and puppies out in the bitter cold of the North Dakota winter without shelter or food.

A local animal shelter, Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue (FFRR), of Bismarck-Mandan is now reporting that it believes most of the abandoned dogs have been brought in.

A volunteer with FFRR said the dogs have “gained weight and they’re looking good. They’re more social, they aren’t scared anymore, they’re really coming along.”

The dogs will be vetted, treated for malnutrition and any injuries, dewormed, vaccinated and bathed – in hopes they will be adopted.

So, in the end, the pipeline will go through and the sacred land was desecrated – until it was reclaimed by the Army Corps. designated as the villain in the first place.

With the exception of the dogs that survived to be adopted by truly caring people, the entire drama ended up a lose-lose for the tribe, the taxpayers – and the land, thanks to all those environmentally aware protesters.

 

 

 
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