Governor Terry Branstad says he remains undecided whether to support or oppose a proposed pipeline that would carry crude oil through Iowa. Branstad says a top concern is the impact it might have on farmland. “The land here is very valuable and we need to make sure the productivity of the land is protected,” Branstad told reporters today.
Just over a week ago, Branstad met with a representative of Energy Transfer Partners LP, the Texas company that wants to transport the oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through roughly 17 Iowa counties to Illinois. The governor said he’s worried about what the pipeline would do to farm drainage tiles. “If they’re going to put in a pipeline and you go through those tiles, you need to totally repair and replace those,” Branstad said. “They tell me that they would go at least two feet under all of the tiles, but it’s a little different building a pipeline in Iowa than Texas or Oklahoma.”
Environmental groups have been campaigning against the project and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement launched a petition last week calling on Governor Branstad to reject the proposal. A spokesperson for Energy Transfer Partners has said they’ll hold public meetings in all of the counties that would be affected by the pipeline, possibly in late September. The company has set a goal of having the pipeline operational by the end of 2016.