To the good people of Nebraska:

Over the past year, thousands of my fellow citizens in North Dakota worked to resolve the pipeline protest at Standing Rock, known as the Dakota Access Pipeline. I had the privilege of working on a fundraising effort to pay for cold weather body suits, gloves, snowmobile helmets, hand warmers, energy drinks and other needs of law enforcement officials standing on the line in Morton County.

None of this essential gear was in anyone’s budget and we knew it was outside of the federal government reimbursement programs. Private donations of nearly $100,000 were raised to cover these very costly unbudgeted needs. Today, North Dakota has also incurred costs and requested reimbursement of $32 million of state money from policing, legal costs and disposal costs on tens of thousands of pounds of human waste. These protests took place on federal Corps of Engineers land. It is becoming likely that North Dakota will be out $32 million from these costs incurred in policing federal lands

My concern is that the good people of Nebraska will likely be confronted by a similar protest. When I read that Jane Kleeb says that the protest in Nebraska will make Standing Rock look like a “dress rehearsal,” I felt compelled to write this letter. You must know the other side of the story.

At the height of the protest, the protesters’ encampment housed environmental extremists, anarchists, many “paid” protesters and drug dealers. The site was filthy and the behavior was so extreme that the Standing Rock tribe decided to leave for the safety of the reservation. Police, state troopers and workers were threatened and stalked off the job site. 

Please act now to control the situation before thousands of outsiders with bad intent come to Nebraska to cause harm. We didn’t have a warning. You do.

Wayne Papke, Mandan

Last month the U.S. Department of Justice awarded North Dakota $10 million to help cover the costs associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The state's congressional delegation continues to pursue more funding.