November 1, 2016

Eight protesters were arrested Saturday east of Rockwell City when they allegedly trespassed on the construction site of a new oil pipeline that will cross the state.

“It’s weird, but I’ve kind of grown fond of those people in the past two weeks,” said Sheriff Bill Davis, of Calhoun County. “They’re very, very nice and seem to be really good people who care about what’s going on. I may not agree with the tactics of trespassing.”

Those arrested were:

— Jesse Lee Horne, 20, of Urbandale

— Mahmud Fitil, 35, of Omaha, Nebraska

— Robert Alexander Frazier, 29, of Marion

­— Julie Ann La Chappa, 45, of Winnebago, Nebraska

— Kate Foster Wolf, 64, of Windsor Heights

— Emma Jo Schmit, 22, of Rockwell City

— Heather Lafaye Pearson, 34, of Logan

— Kris Eugene Wells, 64, of Le Claire

The protesters are among scores of people who have tried to block the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, which is planned to stretch about 1,200 miles from North Dakota to Illinois. They argue it poses an environmental hazard and that it was wrong to force landowners to surrender rights to their land to build it.

About 40 people staged a protest Saturday on private property about 3 miles east of Rockwell City. Those who were arrested went onto the pipeline construction site, Davis said.

“They were heading toward the equipment,” he said. “We gave them every opportunity to go back onto private land.”

They face a simple misdemeanor charge that is punishable by up to 30 days in jail.