The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wrapped up its $1.1 million cleanup of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camps on federal land in North Dakota, hauling away 835 dumpsters of remaining trash and debris. The site, once occupied by thousands of environmental demonstrators, is now vacant.
The federal cleanup at the last of the three camps, Sacred Stone, was declared finished Thursday.
A Florida sanitation company completed work that began Feb. 23 to hasten the massive restoration project started in late January by the Standing Rock Sioux.
Meanwhile, a local animal shelter rescued four more dogs found at the North Dakota encampment, bringing the total number of dogs found after the last of the protesters evacuated to 12.
“We are happy to report that all animals have been accounted for throughout the Dakota Access Pipeline protest sites,” Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue of Bismarck-Mandan said in an online post.
The tribe, aided by state and local agencies as well as some protest volunteers, launched the cleanup over concerns that snowmelt would inevitably wash tons of garbage and waste left by protesters into the Cannonball River.
Corps Capt. Ryan Hignight said a total of 8,170 cubic yards of debris was removed from the three camps — Sacred Stone, Oceti Sakowin and Rosebud — all within the flood plain on federally managed land.
“In total, there were 835 roll-off dumpsters of trash and debris removed from the three camps together,” Capt. Hignight said in an email.
Some items, including propane tanks and lumber, were set aside for recycling, The Associated Press reported.
The crew cleaned up only garbage on federal land. Sacred Stone, where 2,160 cubic yards of debris were removed, is partially on tribal land.
“I am unable to confirm if the camp not located on corps-managed land is clean,” said Capt. Hignight.
The protesters descended on the area by the thousands last year in a show of opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline, a 1,172-mile, four-state project expected to be completed and ready to flow oil as early as this week.
Two tribes, the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux, filed an appeal Monday of a federal judge’s decision last week denying their request for a preliminary injunction to stop the project and asked the judge to block the delivery of oil until the appeal is heard.
Volunteers with Furry Friends rescued six puppies and two adult dogs shortly after the evacuation and picked up another four dogs March 5.
“Thank you to Fort Yates Game and Fish for holding the four dogs until FFRR could bring them into our care,” said the shelter. “Another thank you goes to Morton County Sheriff Department for allowing us to use their animal impound facility for quarantine.
“The dogs will be vetted — vaccinated, exam, dewormer, and bath — prior to being posted for adoption,” the shelter said.
Six of the 12 dogs already have been adopted, according to KFYR-TV in Bismarck.
“When we went to the Cannon Ball, Solen area on Sunday, just from there until now I’ve noticed they’ve gained weight and they’re looking good,” volunteer Stacy Sturm told the station. “They’re more social, they aren’t scared anymore, they’re really just coming a long ways.”
• Valerie Richardson can be reached at email@example.com.
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