The Cannonball River slobs

Joel Dyer | Boulder Weekly

The activists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline call themselves “Water Protectors,” but there’s a more evocative one-syllable Anglo-Saxonism that better describes them.


Now that the last of the Protectors have been hauled out of the protest camp, authorities have been better able to take the measure of the mess they left behind — which can be described most charitably as post-Woodstockian.

Or more plainly as a dump in training to be a Superfund site.

Here’s some of what has emerged so far:

According to an ABC News story on February 15, local and federal officials estimated that there was enough trash and debris in the camp to fill about 2,500 pickup trucks. That conservatively works out to somewhere between 1,250 and 3,750 tons, depending on what size pick-up truck they’re talking about. Even before the last protesters left, 240 rollout dumpster loads had been removed.

The garbage ranges from ordinary household trash to building debris and human waste, according to Morton County Emergency Manager Tom Doering.

“There’s more garbage down there than anybody anticipated,” he added.

At the time North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said the state would hire additional contractors and worry about who would pay them later.

That’s because there’s a real sense of urgency about the clean-up due to the fact that the Water Protectors had, insanely, built their camp on the Cannonball River flood plain. If the spring melt causes flooding this year, as it routinely does, the camp’s detritus could end up in the Cannonball River and then in the Missouri River. And as of last week, the area was experiencing an early melt, which had turned the camp into a quagmire.

“I don’t want to sit around and argue about who’s going to pay for it while we’ve got buildings floating down the Missouri River,” Burgum said.

Not to mention cars.

According to George Kuntz, vice president of the North Dakota Towing Association, as of February 18 there were 200 vehicles in the camp, including cars, pickups and rental trucks.

“You’re not going to just go in there with a tow truck,” Kuntz said. “We’re going to have to go in with heavy equipment to be able to get these vehicles out of there, get them to the roadway, load them and haul them. We’re going to run 24 hours a day,” he added.

(It’s not clear how many vehicles were still there as of last weekend when the camp was finally emptied of protesters, nor is it clear why so many vehicles might have been left behind. It may be some couldn’t be moved because of the mud or because they belonged to protesters who had been arrested. There were more than 600 arrests during the protest.)

“You’ve got oil leaking out, you’ve got gas,” said Bob Keller, public information officer for the Morton County Sheriff’s Department. “You talk about wanting to protect the water, and yet not a lot of people are staying around to clean up what they started.”

Garbage, shit and cars weren’t the only things the protesters left in the camp.

Two dogs and six puppies that were abandoned were removed from the camp by Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue, a local animal rescue group. They think there are more but are having a hard time finding them because the loud machinery is scaring the animals.

Some of the animals that were rescued had frost bitten ears, patchy fur, and mange.

Kuntz made the obvious point about the protest: “How do you just totally destroy something? How do you not care about something that you are here saying that you care about?”

How indeed. The Water Protectors, for all their green posturing and animistic pieties, really amounted to little more than an Occupy Wall Street Anarchist/Syndicalist gig in green drag.

The Water Protectors’ camp didn’t look all that different from any one of dozens of abandoned Occupy Wall Street protest camps — only filthier and bigger.

The entire protest was a green-washed fraud.

No environmentalist with a shred of integrity and self-respect would have conducted a protest like the so-called Water Protectors did, because to protest with such a reckless disregard for the environment delegitimizes both the protest and the cause. Nihilistic radicals on the other hand would fail to see the contradiction, because to them the violence and vandalism is the object of the exercise.

Nor was there ever a chance that the protest would stop or even delay oil production from the Bakken, which was its real agenda. Not in a country that consumes 19.4 million barrels of petroleum products a day (7 billion barrels a year). The American people would never stand for that, nevermind Trump. The only question was whether the oil would be shipped out of North Dakota by train or pipeline.

Rail shipment is five times more prone to accident pipelines.

Maybe the Water Protectors weren’t entirely aware of this, but it is a safe bet that their enablers and backers in major U.S. environmental organizations like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace were. But that didn’t stop those worthies from encouraging the poor bastards in the camp from freezing their asses off and desecrating a supposedly sacred site, in order to perpetuate a bright, shining lie.

This opinion column does not reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.

  • Kathie Wallace

    What utter nonsense!

    • Joel Dyer

      Thanks Kathie for taking the time to comment. As the editor of Boulder Weekly I’d like to point out that Paul Danish is not an employee of Boulder Weekly. This piece is an opinion column, his opinion only not ours and it is followed by the statement that it does not represent the view of the paper. We don’t censor people’s opinions even when we disagree with them. As for actual news reporting, Boulder Weekly did send several people to Standing Rock and has written no less than 8 articles on the pipeline and Water Protectors to date with several more articles still to come. Those are actual news reporting and I’d encourage you to read those before you throw the entire paper under the bus. Thanks.

  • Sandra DeMaranville

    FAKE news!!! Who has spent $33million for National Guard, BIA, Morton County Police, SWAT Team, to protect a Corporate Tar Sand Pipeline to persecute these unarmed Water protectors. Standing Rock from the beginning wanted it moved Or stopped for fear of it contaminating their water, destroying historical and burial sites, and water for 18million of us people down river. North Dakota will Make $110million annually…. Now think…North Dakota and ETP broke our laws and Constitution to achieve this and you are supporting them by spreading these lies against Standing Rock.

    • Loren Werchau

      Tar sands come from Canada. The oil in the DAPL comes from the Bakken oil field 20 % of which is owned by the Mandan, Arikara , and Hidatsa tribes on the Fort Berthold Reservation. From the beginning Standing Rock said nothing until long after the pipeline was being built

    • Angie Vigil

      Thank you relative

    • Joel Dyer

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. As the editor of Boulder Weekly I’d like to point out that this piece is an opinion column, not news reporting in any way. It represents only the opinion of Mr. Danish not that of Boulder Weekly. As hard as it is sometimes, we will never censor the opinion of those who disagree with us. And be very clear, this column is absolutely in disagreement with the editorial position of this paper. Boulder Weekly has sent several reporters to Standing Rock and has written eight “news” stories so far with at least two more investigative pieces still in the works. You might want to read those stories before using the term”fake news” with regards to this paper. Opinion columns are not fake news because they are simply the personal opinion of the writer. They are not news at all. Thanks

  • Eric Bothun

    Sandra and Kathie must be part of the illiberal left, intolerant and won’t listen to the truth. The Boulder Weekly is reporting the truth, Amen! I live in North Dakota and I resent how you claim North Dakota broke laws and the Constitution. All parties followed the law it was the Obama Administration that over ruled the law. Lastly Sandra you are spreading FAKE news!! Tar Sand Oil is in Canada not North Dakota.The oil flowing through DAPL will be North Dakota oil. The Tar Sands oil will flow into the United States through the Keystone Pipeline.

  • Terina Calcagno

    Hey, Paul. Maybe if you could put down the Fleshlight and log off of PornHub for five minutes, maybe you could do enough research to have an INFORMED opinion. You know, like adults do.

  • Angie Vigil

    This coming from someone who never even made the effort to go ther personally to verify this bullpoop reporting

    • Loren Werchau

      Are you blind to facts or just blind. Maybe you have bullpoop in your eyes. This place was left as a disaster site. Any person that left this area looking like this should have been arrested as any white person would have been.

      • Angie Vigil

        Yes, I am blind to lies and propoganda and unverified fake news..I only believe what I know, not what is fwd to me through fake media..I dont spit out whatever Im told like most do

  • Julie Coker

    Paul, you owe the water protectors a huge apology and should retract this piece. The water protectors were forcefully removed without adequate time to clean up the camp. They had to clean up after thousands of people who visited and left things behind for others to use, much of which was frozen in the snow. As soon as the snow started to melt and they were able to start cleaning, they worked as hard as they could to clean the camp. How insulting for you to say they left “shit” behind. Patricia Arquette donated compostable toilets and all their waste was bagged. There are too many falsehoods in your piece, but it’s obvious you did not research this. The water protectors begged for more time to finish cleaning, but were refused. Of all the people in this country, Native Americans care the most about taking care of the environment.
    You say there was never a chance they could stop the pipeline, but Obama did stop the final easement under Lake Oahe. Trump blew that. Many of these people quit their jobs and left their families to help save the water. Seriously, you owe them an apology. And do your research before you print utter lies.

    • Loren Werchau

      What kind of weed are you smoking because it is more powerful than LSD. The water protectors couldn’t clean this place up in a year yet alone before the spring thaw. They made this mess and very few have helped clean it up. The last “protectors ” about 300 of them have no chance of cleaning up after thousands left piles of Shit. The mud smells like a urinal that hasn’t worked in years. Remember the Chief that cried on TV about the litter that was making a mess of the rivers? He is rolling in his grave right now.

      • Angie Vigil

        Dillusional..keep drinking the orange koolaid, made with oil

    • Angie Vigil

      Well said, thank you relative

  • Thos Paine

    Such FAKE news – you should be ashamed to call yourself s “journalist”. Did DAPL pay you to write this drivel?? Shame on you

    • Angie Vigil


  • mr electricity

    There goes all there efforts !

  • Roger

    The Democratic Party at it’s finest!

  • Julia Minugh

    Wow! First time I have seen that anyone admitted that the Great Sioux nation has control over the land the camps at Standing Rock were on.

    The Bismarck Tribune CAROLINE GRUESKIN Bismarck Tribune Feb 28, 2017

    “People staying at the Sacred Stone camp were served a final notice of trespass on Monday by BIA officers. According to a first notice, the property is majority-owned in trust for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has not authorized the protesters to live there. Darlin…g said the land is also subject to another lease.”

    The Bismarck Tribune CAROLINE GRUESKIN Bismarck Tribune Mar 1, 2017

    “The protesters’ move came after the BIA handed out a final notice of trespass to campers remaining at Sacred Stone on Monday. They were first alerted they were trespassing on Feb. 15. According to the BIA, the federal government owns a two-thirds share of the land in trust for the tribe, giving the tribe authority over how the land is used”.