Dakota Access Pipeline LLC has donated $15 million to the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (DES) to help retire debt incurred by the state as a result of its response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, Gov. Doug Burgum announced today.
The donation, wired this afternoon to the state-owned Bank of North Dakota, will be used to pay down loans taken out by DES.
“We are grateful for Dakota Access Pipeline’s recognition of the significant impacts this project had on our state, our citizens and the law enforcement officers and emergency services personnel who worked tirelessly to protect the life, health and safety of everyone involved,” Burgum said. “We remain committed to pursuing all available avenues to ensure that North Dakota taxpayers alone don’t bear the enormous costs of law enforcement, life safety and other resources expended on the protests.”
A bill passed by the state Legislature in April and signed into law by Gov. Burgum included language intending that the governor and DES “accept reimbursement in the form of land, cash, or other assets from nonstate sources for state costs incurred relating to unlawful activity associated with the construction” of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The bill, HB1024, further required that any reimbursements received be used to repay the Bank of North Dakota loans.
The state has approved $43 million in Bank of North Dakota loan authority for costs associated with the pipeline protests, including $40 million for DES as the state coordinating agency and a $3 million loan for DES to reimburse Morton County for extraordinary costs. This week, the state Emergency Commission and the Legislature’s Budget Section voted to accept a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to reimburse North Dakota for law enforcement support costs associated with the pipeline protests.
“It’s our responsibility to protect our law enforcement, the workers and our citizens, and as a state we did that, incurring substantial debt,” House Majority Leader Al Carlson said. “We are appreciative of Dakota Access, and this donation and the fact that oil is flowing through the pipeline are a testament to their commitment to our state. We are still hopeful the federal government will pick up the remaining $18 million.”
“I really appreciate their concern for North Dakota and the fact that they have an appreciation for how the state handled that situation,” Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner said. “Our law enforcement and emergency services did an outstanding job, and the people of North Dakota are grateful to the company for giving back to North Dakota.”
“As Attorney General, I will be pursuing all options for recouping the remainder of this debt from the federal government, which we maintain is solely responsible for the expenses the state incurred,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said. “In the meantime, we are grateful for this generous donation from Dakota Access to help defray the costs.”
Dakota Access is a joint venture between Energy Transfer Partners LP, Phillips 66 and MarEn, an entity owned by Enbridge Energy Partners LP and MPLX LP.