Cape Girardeau man details his experience in North Dakota pipeline protest

Heartland residents protest construction of Dakota Access Pipeline
Published: Nov. 22, 2016 at 10:20 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2016 at 11:30 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Have you been paying attention to the fuss over the Dakota Access Pipeline? We've learned some people here in the Heartland are quite passionate about it.

It's an oil pipeline being built by a private oil company.

The problem: construction's been on hold the past few months due to protesters.

Cape Girardeau resident Dalton Frymire described his experience in North Dakota as blissful and uniting, until Sunday, when things started to get serious between police and protesters.

"I don't understand why at all," Frymire said.

Frymire, along with a few others from Cape Girardeau, traveled more than 1,000 miles to learn more and have their voices heard about the Dakota Access Pipeline.

"Within five minutes of my arrival," he said. "The tear gas was already being deployed."

Thousands of people have traveled to North Dakota to protest the $3.7 billion pipeline project which would shuttle 470,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois.

Supporters say the pipeline would decrease the U.S. reliance on foreign oil, while opponents say the project could destroy property owned and occupied by Native Americans.

And the line could possibly bust, leaking into rivers and affecting drinking water.

Regardless, differences of opinions have caused delays in construction and turmoil on the front lines.

"We can use whatever force necessary to maintain peace," a North Dakota officer said.

Sixteen people were arrested on Monday after a standoff that involved officers spraying protesters with water cannons in freezing temperatures.

"We're not just going to let people and protesters in large groups come in and threaten officers, that's just not going to happen," said Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier of Morton County, North Dakota.

"We gave them no reason to use that kind of force," Frymire said.

Frymire said thankfully no one in his group was injured or arrested, but he keeps his mind on the people that are still there.

"We came out just fine," he said. "There's still people out there that are cold, that are going hungry, that are going to keep doing this, that are still in the hospital and we're not sure if they're going to be fine from Sunday night events and I'm more worried about them people right now."

For now, Frymire said people back in North Dakota plan to continue protesting.

As for the construction of the pipeline, it will continue to be put on hold.

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