North Dakota – During the last month of our reporting on the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, we have filed dozens of public records requests to various North Dakota agencies to provide a wider context as events continue to unfold. Accessing public records allows us to see what elected officials discuss behind closed doors and allows a glimpse into the bureaucratic processes underlying government actions.
A cache of correspondence acquired by Unicorn Riot from a series of open records requests (1, 2, 3, 4) shows hundreds of emails sent to North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple and North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
Emails Sent to ND Gov. Dalrymple
Almost every single email we reviewed expresses concern and outrage about North Dakota’s actions regarding resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).
“This pipeline is a disaster waiting to happen, just like what’s happening in South Dakota right now with the pipeline rupture.” – quoted from an email sent to ND Gov. (pictured below)
Other emails decry the choice made in August by the Governor’s office’s to withdraw water tanks and medical resources that state agencies had been providing to the Oceti Sakowin camp. (The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe responded by providing their own water and emergency responders.)
A large number of the emails sent to Governor Dalrymple denounce the fact that private security officers were allowed to use attack dogs on unarmed water protectors.
Many concerned people had unique and colorful things to say to Governor Jack Dalrymple about his handling of DAPL and related issues.
One email, however, stands out as distinctly different from the many messages of protest sent to Governor Dalrymple. On September 7th, Operating Engineers Union Local 49 (Allied General Contractors of North Dakota) Executive VP Russ Hanson contacted Governor Dalrymple’s office, apparently to request more police presence at #NoDAPL direct actions.
Emails Sent to ND Attorney General
38 pages of emails we received from our records requests contain similar language of concern and protest regarding the DAPL and police actions against water protectors.
Many of the emails sent to the Attorney General express concern at the arrest warrant issued for journalist Amy Goodman.
The North Dakota Attorney General makes it clear in a formal response to these emails that their office has no jurisdiction over most #NoDAPL court cases; the prosecuting office in these cases is the Morton County State’s Attorney. (Unicorn Riot has recently filed a related records request to the Morton County State’s Attorney.)
An article presenting some of these same emails recently appeared in the Daily Dot, who apparently requested some of these records as well.
Read and/or download the documents in the Muckrock pages for these records requests below:
- North Dakota Governor’s office emails re: protests August 23- September 6 2016
- North Dakota Governor’s office emails re: protests September 7-18 2016
- North Dakota Attorney General Emails re: protests September 7-18 2016
- North Dakota Governor’s Office emails with North Dakota Highway Patrol, September 13, 2016
Unicorn Riot will continue to file public records requests to agencies involved in ongoing events related to the DAPL, and publish these documents along with our analysis in order to further public understanding of this dynamic situation.
We have been filing public records requests using Muckrock, an online toolkit. We encourage other reporters and concerned individuals to file requests to North Dakota agencies to uncover more information about events surrounding DAPL.
— MuckRock (@MuckRock) October 3, 2016
Thanks to everyone who made this records-based journalism possible! All of the requests on which this reporting is based were made possible by donations from our readers.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) September 5, 2016
To help our volunteer-operated, horizontally-organized, non-profit media collective please consider a tax-deductible donation:
To see Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the Sacred Stone Camp and frontline anti-pipeline struggle, see below.
- After covering the camp in the spring of 2016, Unicorn Riot returned to Standing Rock Reservation on Wednesday, August 10th, when Standing Rock tribal members and allies blocked the entrance to the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site.
- On Thursday, August 11th, a dozen or so people were arrested blocking the construction site entrances.
- Day 3, Friday, the fight to protect land & water intensified around the construction sites of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- On the 4th day, the pipeline resistance encampment swelled and prepared for more action.
- Monday, August 15th, land defenders stormed the construction site halting construction, and the next day construction was halted as well.
- August 17th saw State Police begin checkpoints, roadblocks, and psyops as protesters united to defend water.
- August 24th, camps prepared as Federal injunction hearing looms.
- Camps Organize to Stay as Injunction Postponed.
- On August 31st, Non-Violent Direct Action Stopped DAPL Construction for Over 6 Hours.
- September 6, indigenous water protectors swarmed Dakota Access Pipeline site, stopped work
- September 7, Uŋpa Nuŋpa was interviewed about ongoing #noDAPL actions
- North Dakota highway patrol refused to release email correspondence with Energy Transfer Partners
- September 8, ND National Guard took over Dakota Access Pipeline checkpoints
- Friday, September 9, US Govt. overruled federal judge and requested pipeline construction halted at Lake Oahe
- Meanwhile, cultural activities continued at #NoDAPL camps despite more arrests/warrants
- September 13, 20 were arrested during #NoDAPL lockdown, including 2 Unicorn Riot journalists
- September 14, direct actions continued against Dakota Access Pipeline while legal repression intensified
- On September 16 a federal judge dissolved the unconstitutional temporary restraining order Dakota Access, LLC had filed against Stranding Rock tribal members
- September 19, as solidarity protests spread nationwide, the federal appeals court ordered construction temporarily stop on Dakota Access segment as Solidarity Protests Spread Nationwide
- September 21, #NoDAPL noise demo demanded freedom for jailed water protector Olowan Martinez
- September 22, water protectors disrupted the annual meeting of the North Dakota Petroleum Council
- September 25, water protectors planted trees on DAPL construction site
- In Iowa on September 26, a non-violent direct action from the Mississippi Stand camp stopped DAPL construction for the day
- September 26, a caravan of water protectors stopped work at DAPL site
- September 27, militarized police arrested 23 water protectors in DAPL work stoppage
- September 29, #NoDAPL Solidarity Action at MN Enbridge Office
For our coverage earlier this spring of the Sacred Stone Camp, see May 27th report, “Dakota Access Pipeline Blockade Enters 2nd Month“; May 5th, “Sacred Stone Camp Resists Dakota Access Pipeline“; April 3rd, “Tribal Citizens Build Camp in Path of Oil Pipeline“; March 29th, “Tribal Citizens Prepare to Blockade Bakken Oil Pipeline“.