Dakota Access protest policing costs exceed $22M

The cost of policing the Dakota Access pipeline protests in North Dakota is at least $22 million — more than $5 million more than the state set aside last year.

Protest-related funding decisions will be made by state lawmakers during the 2017 session. Leaders of the House and Senate appropriation committees say more funding will be approved, though the amount and method isn't known.

Rep. Jeff Delzer says state officials also still hope the federal government will help with funding.

The four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline is to carry North Dakota oil to Illinois. Opponents believe the project threatens drinking water and Native American cultural sites, which Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners denies.

Opponents built a protest encampment in southern North Dakota. There have been nearly 600 arrests since August.