North Dakota Notches Court Win in Case on DAPL Protests’ Damages

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) issued the following statement following North Dakota District Court Judge Dan Traynor’s decision to deny the United States’ motion for case management to limit North Dakota’s tort claims. federal government on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests:

“Judge Traynor is right to reject the Justice Department’s motion, which is based more on arrogance than fact.” A coordinated effort by multiple federal agencies to facilitate illegal and often violent activity to shut down a properly designated and permitted pipeline must be exposed. The state of North Dakota should not present its case with its hands tied behind its back. Full access to witnesses and evidence from all agencies involved is important and appropriate. This is a promising victory in our state’s vigorous fight to ensure that the people of North Dakota are fully compensated for the negligence of the federal government. I look forward to seeing how this new path of discovery unfolds.

The ruling stated, “The US’s failure to follow the permitting process opened the door for North Dakota to be breached by the US, its agencies and third parties. USACE has created an accountability mess. This allowed the protesters and other hapless federal agencies to add to the damage and then leave North Dakota to clean it up.

“[T]The Court agrees with North Dakota that it appears that the United States may use this motion to prevent discovery by other federal agencies related to this case or to prejudice the State of North Dakota. Damage that would not have occurred but for USACE’s inaction. continued the ruling.

Judge Traynor described the failures of the US Army Corps of Engineers during the DAPL protests as follows:gigantic federal chaos. He ruled that other federal agencies may have contributed to the damages suffered by the state of North Dakota and are relevant to the ongoing discovery process.

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Background:

in 2021 in October, US District Court Judge Dan Traynor denied the United States Attorney General’s motion for partial summary judgment to prevent North Dakota from seeking damages from the federal government over the DAPL protests. Learn more here.

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Last summer, Senator Cramer discussed North Dakota’s DAPL Federal Tort Act litigation at length in an essay on States’ Rights and Restoring Federalism in Environmental Policy in the Harvard Law and Public Policy Journal. He noted that since the protests, the federal government has consistently stepped up to help cover cleanup, enforcement and policing costs. Learn more here.

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