The decision to send Marathon County Sheriff’s deputies to North Dakota has angered some Wausau residents, who have held numerous protests outside the Marathon County Courthouse.  

A group of Wausau area residents, outraged by the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department’s decision to send deputies to the site of a controversial oil pipeline, is headed to North Dakota to bring money and supplies to protesters there.

Kinesha Stoner, 20, is making the 1,300-mile round trip journey to Standing Rock, where more than 1,000 protesters opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline, or DAPL, are gathered. The pipeline would transport 470,000 barrels of crude oil each day from the Bakken Oil Field in North Dakota to a Chicago area refinery. Stoner, who is Native American, is accompanied by several friends and is bringing a U-Haul truck filled with cold weather gear, medical supplies, sleeping bags and wood for the protesters, many of whom have been at the site since April.

Stoner says she has also collected hundreds of dollars in donations.

Opponents to the pipeline say the project threatens sacred native lands and could contaminate the water supply from the Missouri River. Stoner says she and many members of the public Facebook Group, Water Protectors: Share Your Story, have been staging demonstrations outside the Marathon County Courthouse since learning that local deputies were aiding North Dakota law enforcement. Many of the protests have turned violent, especially in recent days.

Marathon County Chief Deputy Chad Billeb says all local deputies deployed to North Dakota returned home at the end of October, and there are no plans in place to send additional officers to the site.