In a shocking development that can’t possibly end well, the Army Corps of Engineers will be evicting everyone from Corps-managed land north of the Cannonball River on December 5 — just one day after a delegation of veterans plans to arrive to defend Standing Rock Sioux water protectors and their supporters opposing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
A letter dated today, November 25, from Army Corps District Commander Col. John W. Henderson to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II reads, in part [emphasis added]:
“Pursuant to 36 C.F.R. § 327.12, I am closing the portion of the Corps-managed federal property north of the Cannonball River to all public use and access effective December 5, 2016. This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontations between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter
conditions. The necessary emergency, medical, and fire response services, law enforcement, or sustainable facilities to protect people from these conditions on this property cannot be provided. I do not take this action lightly, but have decided that it is required due to the concern for public safety and the fact that much of this land is leased to private persons for grazing and/or haying purposes as part of the Corps’ land management practices. To be clear, this means that no member of the general public, to include Dakota Access pipeline protestors, can be on these Corps’ lands.”
Although the Corps so graciously established what is laughably termed a “free speech zone” south of the Cannonball River, the letter makes undeniable the fact it plans to evict everyone from the camps already in place.