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The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services declined a request from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for aid from the North Dakota Department of Health at the site of one of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camps.

In a letter, Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II asked that a Health Department first aid station be placed at the protest camp north of the Cannonball Bridge to provide emergency medical care.

Archambault said Standing Rock Emergency Management Task Force was providing water, portable toilets, waste management, road maintenance, ambulance services and community health representatives to provide medical assistance. He said emergencies, accidents and injuries were “stressing” the tribe’s capabilities, resulting in “diminished services to the residents of Standing Rock.”

Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Cecily Fong said the agency used the same logic in its denial of the request as it did when deciding to remove state-owned water trucks several weeks earlier.

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“We’re not going to use state resources to help a protest located unlawfully,” she said.

“Our phones were ringing off the hooks from taxpayers,” questioning why state-funded resources were going to what was deemed an “unlawful” protest by law enforcement, she said. “We weren’t going to go there again.”

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Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com

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