Ed Wiederstein, chairman of the Midwest Coalition for Infrastructure Now, says it was a big step for the Iowa Utilities Board last week to reject the request from environmental groups for a rehearing on the pipeline permit.
“I’m sure it’s just a stalling tactic on the part of the opposition that doesn’t like the pipeline for whatever reason,” Wiederstein says. “Really, let’s get on with it. If it’s going to be built, let’s try to build it in one season. We’re almost to the point now where that might be kind of difficult.”
The project by Energy Transfer Partners of Texas will ship crude oil from North Dakota across South Dakota into Iowa and end up in Illinois. All of the states have approved the pipeline project but it also needs the okay of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Wiederstein is hoping the Corps will follow through and allow the construction to get underway.
“I hope the Army Corps has some common sense because surely they’ve been looking at this well before this point,” he says. “I think they know what they want to do but maybe they for-show have to do something but it really needs to get going.” It could be June before the Corps makes its decision on the project.
Wiederstein says there are many benefits to having the Bakken pipeline built. “It’s an infrastructure project and in essence, it’s a highway,” Wiederstein says. “If we were redoing Interstate 80, that would be a great interuption for a lot of people and this is the same way. It’s just as important as Interstate 80 and instead of transporting cars, we’re transporting fuel.”
The Iowa Utilities Board voted unanimously on March 10th to grant Dakota Access a permit to build 346 miles of the pipeline which will cut through 18 Iowa counties. The board then issued the permit on April 8th after Dakota Access completed certain compliance filings required by the board.
The IUB recently ruled on several issues raised about Dakota Access and its actions, but decided not to issue any penalties.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton