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Dakota Access camp

Refuse remains in the Dakota Access pipeline opponents' main protest camp as a fire burns in the background in southern North Dakota near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, as authorities prepare to shut down the camp in advance of spring flooding season. (AP Photo/Blake Nicholson)

The Dakota Access Pipeline protesters are finally gone. Calling themselves “Water Protectors," they contaminated a thousand acres of pristine grassland (also a sensitive wildlife habitat) and left behind mountains of trash, human waste and hazardous fuels.

An early thaw turned their campsite into a muddy cesspool. Included in the debris were dozens of abandoned cars, structures, propane tanks—and 12 dogs!

In Late February the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent $1.1 million to clean up the protest camps, hauling away 835 dumpsters (8,170 cubic yards) of trash and debris. The local tribes were concerned that snowmelt would inevitably wash tons of garbage and waste into the Cannonball River.

Of course, it's impossible to remove every drop and particle of waste. The Missouri River downstream from the Cannonball is almost certainly polluted. Don't drink that "protected" water!

Some of the "Water Protectors" may have been paid protesters. (Do they really care?) The Sierra Club and Greenpeace were among the organizations that compensated them. Among environmentalists, these organizations are respected and considered responsible. So why did none of their check writers bother to contract for trash dumpsters and outhouses? This is shocking negligence!

The Dakota Access protest is reported to have provided inspiration and a blueprint for protests against pipelines elsewhere. If future protests don't include facilities for waste disposal, they will do only harm. In the spirit of good environmentalism, recycle bins should also be provided.

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I'll take my chances with the pipeline company. They know how to handle oil spills and will respond immediately. Oil doesn't mix with water like sewage does. Let the oil flow! Cheap energy from fossil fuels now supplies 86 percent of the world's energy and has kept seven billion people from starving. Google "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels." It's good reading.

Dale Ferguson,

Polson

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