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Pipeline developer donates $15 million to ND for protest costs

Signs left by protesters demonstrating against the Energy Transfer Partners Dakota Access oil pipeline sit at the gate of a construction access road where construction has been stopped for several weeks due to the protests near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. September 6, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

BISMARCK—The developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline donated $15 million to the state of North Dakota to help pay for the response to the monthslong protests against the project, Gov. Doug Burgum said Thursday, Sept. 28.

The donation from Dakota Access LLC was wired to the state-owned Bank of North Dakota Thursday afternoon and will be used to pay down loans taken out by the state Department of Emergency Services.

The state has approved $43 million in Bank of North Dakota loan authority for costs associated with the protests, which centered on the pipeline's crossing under Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

"We are grateful for Dakota Access Pipeline's recognition of the significant impacts this project had on our state, our citizens and the law enforcement officers and emergency services personnel who worked tirelessly to protect the life, health and safety of everyone involved," Burgum said in a statement.

The North Dakota House and Senate majority leaders, as well as Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, praised the donation in a news release from Burgum's office.

Although Burgum's request to President Donald Trump for a disaster declaration was denied, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded North Dakota a $10 million grant for law enforcement costs related to the protests. House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, said state leaders hope the federal government will pick up the remaining $18 million.

Dakota Access is a joint venture between Energy Transfer Partners LP, Phillips 66 and MarEn. Burgum had a phone conversation Monday with Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, according to the governor's schedule provided to Forum News Service.

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