Since clearing out the Dakota Access Pipeline campsites, clean-up crews have disposed of more than 24,000 tons of garbage left by activists. A contractor hired by North Dakota’s Emergency Services Department is clearing away the trash, waste (including human excretes), and abandoned debris from the Oceti Sakowin, Rosebud, and Sacred Stone campsites. The cost to taxpayers: a whopping $1 million dollars.

North Dakota is keeping visitors updated on its NDResponse Facebook and YouTube pages, noting the site is “nearly complete.” They also have videos of the trucks, crews, and bulldozers collecting and hauling away staggering amounts of rubbish.

Other videos show workers towing away abandoned vehicles, propane tanks, and trailers.

An environmental disaster

North Dakota is trying to remove the trash and debris before the rains begin, as the campsite sits on the floodplains. If the waste isn’t cleared away, the leftover sludge and garbage would get carried away into nearby rivers, creating an environmental disaster. That has accelerated work crews to clean up the camps. Items left behind include toxic chemicals and heavy oils that would spoil the watershed.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hired Trinity Analysis & Development Corp., which has been working since late last week to clean out the camp.

And the Standing Rock Sioux, which at first welcomed the mostly out-of-state protestors, has led a cleanup effort once the protestors disbanded. The Standing Rock tribe has allowed some activists to remain on private property they own.

Pets left behind

How do the activists justify the enormous piles of garbage they left behind?

If the pipeline running deep beneath Lake Oahe’s bedrock somehow breached, their mountains of garbage would be insignificant. Facebook users have written this is utter nonsense given the amount of filth left behind. The activists also charge they were forced out before they had a chance to clean up, even though they were given ample time and warnings to evacuate the camps.

Also found among the waste and garbage were dogs and puppies, which the activists left behind to fend for themselves. Those that were rescued have been taken to the Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue. The canines were found by volunteers helping in the clean-up efforts. Some were affected by malnutrition, frostbite, and mange. Others think more animals weren’t found before the bulldozers arrived.

Facebook users outraged

Mina Harrington wrote on NDResponse’s Facebook page she was “SO GLAD you are showing all of this filth for Americans to see what the TRUE story behind these ‘protesters’ really is.” While Ken Kavanaugh commented: “I'm so embarrassed that my People would leave such a horrible mess while claiming to be Protectors of Mother Earth.”

The 1,172-mile-long pipeline that traverses four states is nearly finished following President Trump signing an executive order allowing for its expedited completion.

This is in keeping with his campaign promises. After the protests began last year, President Obama nixed the project. The $3.8 billion project has been held up for nearly six months and should be completed in a few weeks barring any judicial intervention.