DAPL donates to first responders

WILLISTON – Dakota Access Pipeline, LLC, has donated $20,000 to first responder departments in each of the North Dakota counties through which its pipeline passes. The company presented checks totaling $140,000 to emergency management departments in Mountrail, Williams, McKenzie, Dunn, Mercer, Morton and Emmons counties Tuesday.

Dakota Access will make similar donations to county emergency management departments across its four-state route, totaling $1 million across 50 counties in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

Mountrail County Emergency Management Coordinator Don Longmuir said the department likely will use the donation for an early warning siren system throughout the county.

Williams County’s Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security Director Mike Smith said the donation will go toward a disaster medical response trailer the county has been pursuing the past year.

“Dakota Access Pipeline recognizes that our first responders, the majority of whom are volunteers, would be the first people to respond in case of a pipeline emergency and are the first line of defense in protecting the local communities,” Smith said. “We are very glad to work with them as neighbors in our community.”

“We are so grateful for this donation and for how great the Dakota Access Pipeline team has been to work with,” said Karolin Jappe, emergency management coordinator for McKenzie County. “I have participated in multiple safety exercises with the pipeline team and feel assured they are fully trained and have taken all precautions for safety.”

McKenzie County will use part of the funds to train every first responder on opioid awareness, purchase Narcan spray to counteract opioid contact and purchase four oxygen/carbon monoxide finger sensors for its ambulances. The use of the remainder of the funds will be decided by the Emergency Management Committee.

Dunn County will buy 4-gas monitors. Mercer County will divide the funds equally among its volunteer ambulance and fire services for response equipment. Morton County will upgrade an emergency generator and distribute money to volunteer fire and ambulance services and Mandan Rural Fire Department. Emmons County also plans to distribute funds to local first responder departments.

Separately, Dakota Access recently donated $15 million to the state of North Dakota to help offset the costs the state incurred for the response to the protests. The company has also recently provided donations to the North Dakota State Historical Society, North Dakota Peace Officers Association, Dakota Territories Sheriff’s Association, North Dakota 4-H Foundation and North Dakota FFA Foundation.