Politics & Policy

North Dakota Seeks to Tax Pipeline Protesters Paid to Be There

According to the Washington Times, many of those who have traveled to demonstrate against the Dakota Access Pipeline have been paid for their time. And so North Dakota is gearing up to tax them. After the camp’s sudden growth last summer, a group of often unruly protesters has prompted both a police presence and a cleanup crew. Thus far, the state’s bill has hit $22 million.

Having received no help from the federal government, North Dakota needs to recoup some of those losses. Taxing these “water protectors” and the organizations (Sierra Club and Greenpeace, among others) that compensated them is part of how they hope to do it.

“It’s something we’re looking at. I can tell you I’ve had a number of conversations with legislators regarding this very issue,” said North Dakota tax commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger to the Washington Times. “[We’re] looking at the entities that have potential paid contractors here on their behalf doing work.”

Not only has the protest been a burden to law enforcement, but it also requires a massive cleanup operation. Reuters reports:

Dump trucks and heavy machinery rolled into the protest camp near the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Monday, and crews began filling large dumpsters with garbage that has accumulated, much of it now buried under snow.

 . . . 

Those involved said it was not an effort to destroy the camp, which sits on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land, but a move to prevent waste contaminating water sources.

“I’m not going to run people’s camps over. I’m not going to take anyone’s property or do anything like that,” Hans Youngbird Bradley, a construction contractor from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe said during the meeting.

There are dozens of abandoned cars and structures as well as waste at the camp.

“It is paramount for public safety, and to prevent an environmental disaster, that the camps be cleared prior to a potential spring flood,” said North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, a Republican who supports the completion of the pipeline, in a statement.

The irony is inescapable: A protest to ensure water purity has forced others to perform an actual environmental cleanup. After all that work, the least the professional protesters could do is properly file North Dakota tax forms.

Paul Crookston — Paul Crookston is a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review and a graduate of Gordon College, at which he studied history and communication. At Gordon he was managing editor of ...

Most Popular

Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More