U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: ‘Significant Environmental Damage’ Possible from Dakota Pipeline Protest Camps

By Andrew Eicher | February 8, 2017 | 11:42 AM EST

Part of the protest camp near the

Dakota Access Pipeline.  (AP) 

(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a press release on Feb 3, announcing that Dakota Access Pipeline protest camps must be closed to prevent “injuries and significant environmental damage.”

The Corps issued notices to protestors, informing them that the federal government will shut down their camps, adjacent to North Dakota’s Cannonball River, on Feb. 22. The government must clear the protestors’ trash and debris before the temperature rises in the spring.

“Because of record snowfall and long periods of frigid temperatures,” the press release states, “there is a high potential for flooding at the mouth of the Cannonball River from spring runoff and ice jams.”

The Corps’ statement warns of the danger of “injury or death” for those remaining in the floodplain, and of the “environmental risk to the river and lake from the significant impacts the protest camps have made on the land. Without proper remediation, debris, trash, and untreated waste will wash into the Cannonball River and Lake Oahe.”

“On the approximately 50 acres where protest camps are located,” the Corps wrote in its statement, “grass has been removed or destroyed by the unauthorized placement of structures, vehicles, personal property, and fires. Soil erosion from a lack of vegetation cover will be exacerbated if flooding does occur, and could result in contaminated sediment runoff into the Cannonball River and Lake Oahe.”

The Washington Times reports that those involved in the remediation effort say it “could take weeks” to clean “the expanse of abandoned tents, teepees, sleeping bags, blankets, canned food, supplies, and just plain garbage” littering the campground.

Part of the protest camp near the Dakota Access Pipeline.  (AP)