North Dakota Evacuation Order Of Pipeline Protest Area Cites Weather
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Protesters camped out at the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site have two new challenges. One is a state order to evacuate. The other - North Dakota's winter weather. But they say they are staying. Minnesota Public Radio's Doualy Xaykaothao has more from Bismarck.
DOUALY XAYKAOTHAO, BYLINE: Men, women and children woke up in traditional teepees, modern campers and tents to at least six inches of snow yesterday at the protest campsites near the construction of a controversial oil pipeline. And just as they were digging out of the snow, the governor announced an emergency evacuation of the camps, effective immediately. In a statement, Governor Jack Dalrymple said he issued the order to protect protesters from what he called harsh winter conditions. Later, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, in a video message, reinforced the governor's concerns.
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KYLE KIRCHMEIER: Being outside exposed to the elements for long periods - even short periods of time, depending on temperatures - does bring in life-threatening conditions to include frostbite, hypothermia and possible death.
XAYKAOTHAO: But the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman, Dave Archambault II, doesn't see it like that.
DAVE ARCHAMBAULT: There's 7,000 people down there, and they're hunkered in pretty good. And so if force comes, it's not going to be good for anybody. And I don't think the governor wants that on his hands, and I don't think the Corps of Engineers wants that.
XAYKAOTHAO: Indicating that may be true, both state and federal authorities say they do not plan to forcibly remove protesters. For NPR News, I'm Doualy Xaykaothao in Bismarck, N.D.
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