North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has ordered an emergency evacuation for Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protesters at the main camp due to "harsh winter conditions" and approaching snow storms, according to Reuters.
It added that the area around the protest camp, just north of the Cannonball River, is "not zoned for dwellings suitable for living in winter conditions".
LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, a Standing Rock Sioux tribe member and founder of the Sacred Stone camp, said that the governor did not have authority over the land and that the water protectors would not comply with the evacuation order, The Guardian reports. Drilling that oil pipeline could contaminate the livelihood of so many people, primarily indigenous people of this land that have been systematically destroyed since Europeans arrived in America.
Bibens called the governor's order a "misuse of emergency declarations to justify an armed invasion of peaceful encampment" and said the collective will take legal action if any force is imposed on the camps.
Andrew Vineberg, a climate justice advocate who volunteers with the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition and studies at the University of Winnipeg, visited the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation two weeks ago.
The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, a human rights organisation, said the United States government had a lengthy history of "criminalis [ing] indigenous rights defenders' struggle for respect".
The order also directs "state agencies, emergency service officials, and nongovernmental agencies to reduce threats to public safety by not guaranteeing the provision of emergency and other governmental and nongovernmental services in the area" without getting clearance on a case by case from the Morton County Sheriff or the Superintendent of the Highway Patrol, and warns the general public that emergency services will not be available in the area under current winter conditions. Attorney Angela Bibens said the governor did not have jurisdiction on land managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, while others said they had no plans to leave.
Man charged in shooting death of teen inside fire station
The victim and suspect in a fatal Republic fire station shooting were "good friends", according to state police. A litany of other fire stations and locals offered their condolences on the fire station's Facebook page.
However, Cherokee Nation scholar Adrienne Keene argued the state has already been preventing emergency services from accessing the site, and law enforcement, not winter conditions, are behind the blockade.
The Corps also is encouraging people to move to land identified by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as a winter camp.
However, neither the state nor the US Army Corps of Engineers have plans for the "forcible removal" of protesters. "It's a civil rights issue, a human rights issue, and it's bigger than all of us".
"This is a federal problem and needs to be dealt with by them", Kirchmeier said. Protest actions have led to more than 500 arrests since August as well as millions in law enforcement costs.
The 1,172-mile project is mostly complete except for the segment planned to run under Lake Oahe, less than half a mile north of Standing Rock.
The companies say the pipeline would carry Bakken shale oil more cheaply and safely from North Dakota to IL en route to US Gulf Coast refineries than it could be shipped by railroad or tanker trucks.