By the time the endless protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline finally ended a tremendous amount of resources had been expended by the state in dealing with the unrest. There were countless hours of overtime for law enforcement officials plus the hiring of additional temporary officers. Equipment and materials were expended or damaged and that doesn’t even begin to take into account the nearly 1000 dumpsters worth of garbage and toxic waste which had to be hauled out of the area once the last of the unwelcome visitors had finally departed. All that adds up to money, and were talking quite a bit of it. The state of North Dakota is looking at a bill running into the tens of millions of dollars and they don’t plan on covering the entire tab themselves. Guess what that means? (Associated Press)

North Dakota officials appear poised to go after the U.S. government — and thus U.S. taxpayers — to recoup more than $38 million in state expenses related to months of protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, though a longstanding offer from the project’s developer to pay up is still on the table.

One taxpayer watchdog group questions why the state isn’t jumping at the offer from Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, a company worth billions of dollars.

“You take the money when you can get it,” said Dustin Gawrylow, managing director of the North Dakota Watchdog Network, which keeps tabs on how public money is spent.

The matter might not be that simple. Common Cause, a nonpartisan group that promotes government accountability, says accepting money from a private-sector business in an industry it regulates would present the state with an ethical dilemma.

This has turned into a rather strange and twisted story. Right off the top we have to consider the fact that for reasons which completely escape me, the energy company who is building the pipeline has offered to reimburse the state for these costs. I suppose one might venture a guess and say that they were already so far over budget because of the protesters that 10 or 20 million more dollars might not be that big of a deal. But it’s almost insulting to think that they would have to foot the bill for all the costs caused by the very people who were setting their equipment on fire and seeking to thwart their completely legal efforts.

We then learn that the state may be unwilling to accept the money. There would be nothing illegal about them doing so but some people are urging caution, saying that it would simply “look bad.” Having an energy company handing out money to the government would apparently suggest the smell of corruption in the minds of some. Seriously? They no longer need permission from anyone to do the work. The pipeline is basically finished now. Exactly what type of “influence” would they be purchasing? Politics makes for strange bedfellows it’s true, but it apparently also generate stories suitable for a mystery novel.

So if the state doesn’t want to pay for it themselves and they don’t want to accept the “dirty money” from the developer, where do they go next? You probably already guessed it. They’re talking about asking the Army Corps of Engineers (who researched and approved the pipeline project) to pony up the cash. And where does the Army Corps of Engineers get their money? That’s right. From you. I suppose George Soros and his friends will wind up getting a hearty laugh out of all of this if their well-financed army of activists can run up a bill of that size and wind up sticking the rest of us with it.