Wardner disappointed in denial of disaster declaration for DAPL protests

Jul 14, 2017

DAPL protest near Standing Rock.
Credit Morton County

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson).
Credit ND Legislature

North Dakota has been denied reimbursement from the federal government for the costs it incurred in dealing with the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

In a letter dated May 18th, the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the state’s request for a disaster declaration because of DAPL. The state had 30 days to appeal – but that was denied as well.

"I'm disappointed," said Sen. Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson). "The whole incident was on federal property, and they had a responsibility to take care of it."

Wardner said if any individual citizen had done anything similar to that on federal property, there would have been consequences.

"That's fine -- they weren't punished. We understand that," Wardner said. "But I think at least the federal government and FEMA should take care of the costs."

State and local costs for the DAPL protests are now approaching $40 million. Wardner said the state doesn't have the money.

"We got a loan from the Bank of North Dakota, with the idea the federal government would pay it back," Wardner said. "We do not have the revenue or the resources to take care of this."

Wardner said he knows the state’s Congressional delegation continues to push for federal funding.

"I don't think we're going to take 'no' for an answer," Wardner said.

The state’s Department of Emergency Services said it may be weeks or longer before the final price tag is known.