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Dakota Access pipeline protest policing costs exceed $22 million

By BLAKE NICHOLSON Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. -- The cost of policing the Dakota Access pipeline protests in North Dakota has surpassed $22 million -- an amount that would fund the state Treasury Department for two decades and $5 million more than the state set aside last year.

Protest-related funding decisions will be made by state lawmakers during the 2017 session. Leaders of the House and Senate appropriation committees say more funding will be approved, though the amount and method isn't known.

Rep. Jeff Delzer says state officials also still hope the federal government will help with funding.

"We're not happy at all that the federal government is not ponying up. This should be their responsibility," said Delzer, R-Underwood, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

A large encampment in southern North Dakota swelled to thousands of opponents of the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline project over the summer, and then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple issued an emergency declaration in August to cover law enforcement expenses related to protests.

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