First responders in many counties across the state got a little boost thanks to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“We care about North Dakota. We appreciate everything North Dakotans have put into the efforts over the past couple of years,” says Lisa Dillinger, Dakota Access Pipeline spokesperson.
And the company is showing its appreciation by making donations to emergency response teams in counties where the pipeline is located.
“From an emergency manager’s point of view, having dealt with derailments and things, pipelines are still the safest way to transport the product,” says Donald Longmuir, interim disaster emergency coordinator for Mountrail County.
The company says the donations are part of an effort to be good neighbors and partners in communities where employees work and live. A commitment that the company says is also extended to those who oppose the pipeline.
“Once the pipeline goes into operation, we are always available. We have land agents that are in the area, we have all sorts of safety measures in place. We have contracts with all different companies in neighboring areas and so we will remain a partner. We will remain a business that is in place here, that is involved with the community,” says Dillinger.
According to the company, incidents such as oil spills are rare. But fostering strong relationships can be key to a quick response.
“I’m in contact with their safety people on a regular basis. Just keeping those relationships going, so if we were to have an incident, they’re very responsible in trying to mitigate any problems that we might have and trying to do it in advance of any issues that are out there,” says Mike Smith, emergency management director for Williams County and the City of Williston.
And the emergency coordinators plan to use the funds towards equipment that will help them in their response efforts.
The Dakota Access Pipeline representatives also donated $35,000 to the North Dakota FFA Foundation and North Dakota 4-H Foundation. They previously donated 15 million dollars to the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services to help offset some of the costs related to the pipeline protests.