DAPL protest one year later

Published: Aug. 10, 2017 at 7:53 PM CDT
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One year ago today, opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline became much more than a vocal exercise. The protests started taking to the streets, in this case a rural highway.

We take a look back at what happened and how the legal showdown went on for several months.

The passionate anti-pipeline demonstrations quickly became a world-wide news event. People from all over the world joined the Standing Rock Sioux's fight against the project.

Arresting demonstrators protesting against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline became a daily task.

"Once this got going, and it turned into almost, well it did turn into a 24/7 incident and for months on end," said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier.

Kirchmeier says the protests became more volatile as the demonstrations dragged on into the Fall.

"A lot of people who were demonstrating at that time had good communication good relationships with law enforcement but as things start to escalate you can kind of see the disparities and how things kind of shifted," said Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault.

"Verbal harassment to rocks being thrown to burning logs to bottles of urine that type of thing," said Kirchmeier.

Archambault says their fight against the pipeline quickly grew through social media. Court hearings on the project continue today.

Archambault said: "So, that was our question always, was what is the impact of this infrastructure project going to have on our tribe on our people? And the Corps of Engineers the company never did answer that and we're still in court today, and we're still trying to get the answer. We all know that there is a spill risk and when that does happen who's going to pay and what is it going to do to our membership what is it going to do to our people?"

The total cost of the protest to taxpayers totaled $38.2 million, and $30 million went to salaries for officers policing the protests.

The protests continued for seven months and 22 days. Morton County authorities say 709 protesters were arrested.