Ahead of mandatory evacuation orders from the Governor of North Dakota yesterday, anti-Dakota Access protesters attempted one final act of destruction ahead of eviction: burning their own camp to the ground.
Protesters set several temporary structures aflame ahead of a 4 PM evacuation order which was enforced by police. The camp has been a ticking environmental time bomb for months – human waste and garbage have piled up without access to state or municipal services as thousands of protesters illegally occupied and built structures on public lands. With spring flooding a short time away, that debris now threatens to contaminate Lake Oahe – the same water source protesters are claiming to protect.
Ironically, by burning structures the protesters only further contributed to the ongoing environmental disaster in the camps releasing greenhouse gases, and toxins into the environment. Structures made of wood, canvas, and other inorganic materials were set aflame as police began to gather ahead of the evacuation.
With the evacuation order now enforced by police and the national guard, we can only hope that environmental damage will be mitigated as cleanup crews begin to remove the months of waste which was improperly disposed in a previously pristine natural environment.