Members of the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition held a rally at the Iowa Capitol today to call for the governor to hold a public hearing before any decision is made on allowing the oil pipeline to move ahead in Iowa.
Mahaska County land owner, Pam Alexander, spoke at the rally. “We are against using imminent domain to allow a private, for profit company access to our agricultural property,” Alexander says.
She says there are several environmental factors to consider. “The construction of this pipeline will disturb our topsoil, destroy our tiling, and the affects of the heat generated from the pipeline on our soil is unknown,” Alexander says. “A leak would destroy our land and contaminate our water sources.”
Iowa State University student Ahna Kruzic of Nevada, says she grew up on a farm and says the farmers she’s talked to don’t want the pipeline. “Over the past year I’ve had farmers tell me that they’ll stop at nothing to stop this pipeline. They’ve told me that the pipeline companies, the construction companies, will have to bulldoze them into the ground before they give up their land,” Kruzic says.
She says she’s afraid of the impact the pipeline will have on her generation and others.
“Not only does the Bakken pipeline threaten our legacy and our land, it threatens our futures,” Kruzic says. “It threatens my future, it threatens my friend’s children’s futures, it threatens all of our futures.”
Kruzic says the state should move toward renewable energy. “This is a technology of the past. We know this. We know that climate change is real, we know that it is happening, farmers know that it is real, farmers know that it is happening,” according to Kruzic. “We can’t ask our Iowa communities and our Iowa agriculture to bear the burnt of an increasingly hostile and changing climate to subsidize the profits for an out-of-state corporation. We can’t do that.”
Kruzic also led the three dozen or so members in a chant of “No Bakken.”
Several members of the Laborers International of North America stood silently around the protest area in the capitol rotunda holding signs that support the pipeline.
Their spokesman, Erick Schmidt, countered what the resistance speakers had to say. “You know, I guess a lot of their arguments deal with being environmentally safe. We feel that the pipeline actually transports the oil from point A to point B in the most environmentally safe way,” Schmidt says.
He says trucking the oil or shipping it by rail is not as safe as the pipeline to transport the oil from North Dakota across Iowa. And Schmidt says the pipeline will help the economy of the state.
“If we can create 4,000 jobs with creating a pipeline that is going to leave a zero carbon footprint — and it’s proved to be the safest way to transport it — we’re all about it,” according to Schmidt.
The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now, released a statement in favor of the pipeline during the rally. The alliance includes several trade organizations, such as the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, and the Iowa State Building & Construction Trades Council.
The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition took a letter to the governor’s office that asks him to take a stance on the pipeline and to hold a public hearing before any decision is made on building the pipeline.
The Iowa Utilities Board has scheduled four days of public meetings in February for deliberations on a request by the company that is seeking a permit to construct the pipeline through 18 Iowa counties. The hearings will be February 8th to 11th, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day.