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Joint assessment of protest camps takes place

Published Feb. 16, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted a joint assessment today of the protest camps along the Cannonball River with camp leaders, a contractor, and camp members to survey the clean-up progress to date.  In their determination, while there has been significant effort by current operations, it is not on pace to ensure the land is restored to a pre-protest state before potential flooding.   

“Our assessment is the Corps-managed land is in significant need of additional manpower and resources to get it remediated in time,” said Col. John Henderson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District commander.  “It is time for all of us to work together to clean up the camps for the health, welfare, and safety of all involved.  We need to tackle this together to prevent further environmental damage to the land and the water." 

The Corps fully supports Governor Burgum’s executive order and appreciates the efforts of those on the ground.  The Corps will continue to work with anybody who is willing to help clean the camp, said Henderson.  All who wish to assist in cleanup are welcome to enter the camp in the morning but will be required to leave each evening because the land is otherwise closed.  

The Corps closed the Corps-managed land that is currently occupied by the protest camps on December 5, 2016.  In a letter the Corps sent February 3, 2017, former camp occupiers were notified they have until February 22, 2017, to retrieve their personal property from Corps-managed federal land.  After such time, all remaining personal property and unauthorized structures will be removed and vehicles will be impounded. 

Those who remain on Corps-managed federal land near the Cannonball River are violating Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations and may be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both and may be tried and sentenced in accordance with the provisions of section 3401 of Title 18, United States Code. 

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is committed to completing the remediation of the land as soon as possible.  After our assessment today, cleanup needs to begin sooner than anticipated. It is imperative that everybody remove their personal property immediately,” said Henderson. 

Please direct all questions to Capt. Ryan Hignight, ryan.b.hignight@usace.army.mil, 402-995-2487.

Capt. Ryan Hignight

Release no. 17-018