Tester, Walsh applaud resources to protect women in the Bakken

Senators helping survivors of assault and area law enforcement

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh today released the following statements after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it will make $3 million available to support survivors and increase prosecutions of domestic violence and sexual assault in the Bakken region:

“The Bakken’s economic growth is creating new jobs and opportunities in eastern Montana, but it’s also putting a strain on the area’s public safety and service providers. These new resources will increase protections for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and give law enforcement much-needed tools to support local communities,” Tester said.

“Economic activity should leave our communities stronger, not struggling to provide essential services that our families need to stay healthy,” Walsh said. “We need to ensure we are building stronger communities throughout the Bakken and maximizing the economic benefits of oil activity without sacrificing quality of life for Montanans and this grant is an important step in meeting those goals.”

The population of the Bakken region – an area of Montana and North Dakota that has seen tremendous growth in oil and gas production – has boomed in recent years, leading to higher crime and drug use.

The Justice Department’s $3 million in grant funding is part of a special initiative to address the region’s rising insecurity. The funding will not only support federal prosecutors working in Eastern Montana and in Indian Country, it will also aid in crime prevention.

Tester has pushed the federal government to provide more resources to support the region’s law enforcement and survivor services. In 2013, he held a roundtable with then-National Drug Control Policy Director R. Gil Kerlikowske in Glendive to discuss ways to defeat local drug abuse.