Dakota Access Pipeline construction stopped

Aug 18, 2016

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirschmeier briefs reporters after the decision was made to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirschmeier said construction of the Dakota Access pipeline south of Mandan has been stopped – for safety reasons.

Kirschmeier said between 1500 and 2000 people are protesting the pipeline. He says Highway 1806 has now been closed just south of the Veterans’ Cemetery to the Sioux County line. Kirschmeyer said the protests have turned – as he put it – “unlawful.”

"Our biggest concern at this point is with traffic safety," Kirschmeier told reporters. "We want to make sure the protestors have the area to protest, but it has to be done legally."

Kirschmeier said since the protests began last Thursday, law enforcement has been trying to keep things peaceful.

"There have been some instances where things have become unlawful," Kirschmeier said. "Things have been taken a little bit further every day."

Kirschmeier said some of the protestors have had pipe bombs and fireworks, and 28 have been arrested.

Kirschmeier was asked when construction might resume.

"The decision was made at this time to have the pipeline company workers pull out, for the safety of everybody," Kirschmeier said. "They'll stop until we can get this resolved."

In a conference call with reporters, Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II called for a peaceful protest.

"The position of our tribe is clear -- There's no place for threats, violence or criminal activity," Arhcambault said. "That is simply not our way."

Kirschmeier said some of the boat ramps, fishing areas and campgrounds on the Missouri will be closed until further notice.