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If North Dakota Governor Jack Darlymple gets his way, the federal government will take the reigns in closing the many protest camps that have sprung up along the state’s Cannonball River, in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Guardian reports. His announcement comes hours after Friday’s letter sent by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the Standing Rock Sioux tribal leader Dave Archambault, warning him that all Army-owned land would be off-limits to protesters as of December 5.
Darlymple called on the federal government to provide the necessary law enforcement resources to help clear the land of protesters. The "water protectors," as they've dubbed themselves, have forced the state to spend over $10 million on law enforcement officials—officials whose tactics Cory Booker recently called into question—who are tasked with keeping the increasingly volatile situation from descending into chaos.
"Our state and local law enforcement agencies continue to do all they can to keep private property and public infrastructure free from unpermitted protest activities, and it's past time that the federal government provides the law enforcement resources needed to support public safety and to enforce their own order to vacate," Dalrymple said. "For more than 100 days now, the federal government has allowed protesters to illegally entrench themselves on Corps land, and it is the federal government's responsibility to lead the camp's peaceful closure."
Among the camps scheduled to be shut down is the Oceti Sakowin camp, which currently houses up to 7000 people. Darlymple stressed his concerns over public safety, as camping during the upcoming winter poses a variety of health risks. The Oceti Sakowin camp has done its best to prepare for the incoming harsh weather by building semi-permanent structures, an echoing of Archambault's earlier statement that pledged his people’s resolve in the face of the Army’s ultimatum.
“Our Tribe is deeply disappointed in this decision by the United States,” Archambault said Friday. “But our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever."