The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issued a permit later in the day that spokesman Kevin Baskins says will allow the company to cross public lands.
“It’s separate, but also tied together. One of the reasons why we issued this afterwards is obviously if the IUB had turned down the Dakota pipeline, this permit would have been moot,” Baskins says. “It is a requirement that the pipeline needed to have — because any time they have a crossing of what we call sovereign land or public land — they do need to have the required permit in order to do that.”
The DNR held a public information session on the permit request and Baskins says they used the same procedure that’s used for other utilities. “It’s not that rare, you know we have pipelines and other utilities that cross public lands in Iowa quire frequently, so it is something that we are somewhat familiar with, and it is a process that is new to us,” Baskins says.
The DNR says it gets around 700 requests for utilities to cross public lands each year. This permit allows the pipeline to cross four public areas. “One of them is the Big Sioux River itself in Lyon County, the Des Moines River in Boone County, and the Mississippi River in Lee Count. And then in addition, it would also cross the Big Sioux River complex wildlife management area in Lyon County,” according to Baskins.
The permit sets out conditions that address the construction techniques required to be used. Baskins says they want to make sure there is as little as possible disturbance of areas, it also addresses the timing of construction so the area around the pipeline is disrupted as little as possible. And he says they are required to minimize the environmental impacts during installation.
Baskins says the DNR has also requirements in place the company must follow after the construction is complete. “A mitigation plan has been negotiated to kind of restore and enhance the type habitat that’s being affected by construction,” Baskins explains. “As a result of that, the company will pay 400-thousand dollars to implement that mitigation plan, to restore that to its natural state as much as possible.”
The DNR permit is still conditional on authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.