DES MOINES, Iowa – The proposed Dakota Access pipeline would cut diagonally across the state of Iowa from Lyon to Lee county, carrying crude oil out of North Dakota. A newly-minted coalition of 19 interest groups is trying to stop it.
On Wednesday, members of the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition met at the Iowa Utilities Board in Des Moines to outline their plan to stop the permitting process, before construction on the Dakota Access pipeline begins.
Cedar Rapids attorney Wally Taylor with the Iowa Sierra Club explained that the pipeline needs a permit from the IUB, as well as a permit from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in order to build through several waterways. The coalition plans to counter both permitting attempts.
Texas-Based Company Energy Transfer Partners would build the pipeline, which it argues increases American energy independence. It argues that the 570,000 barrel per day capacity of the new pipeline will work toward offsetting the use of foreign crude oil.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement member Ross Grooters isn’t buying it.
“I think the more we’re extracting fossil fuels the more we’re dependent upon them,” he explained. “We need to now, rather than later, [to] focus on a shift to renewable energy to make sure we’re preserving our environment and our economy for future generations. Fossil fuel extraction is a way of the past, and it’s a dead end.”
Burning fossil fuels is also a key contributor to climate change, which Grooters says means the pipeline is bad news for Iowa’s agricultural industry.
“Much of our economy is based on farming and agriculture,” he said of Iowa. “Climate change is having a profound impact on those. It’s also having an impact on insurance companies who increasingly bear the burden of catastrophic weather events. So Iowa has a big stake in insuring that we’re focusing on ways to prevent and eliminate, [and] turn back the tide on climate change.”
Energy Transfer Partners estimates much of the project’s benefits to the state of Iowa will occur during the pipeline’s construction phase. Among the permanent benefits to Iowans are $27.4 million dollars annually in property taxes and $60 million in permanent right-of-way compensation.
To hear more about the proposed Dakota Access pipeline, click the audio player above this story.
The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition is made up of:
- 100 Grannies for a Livable Future
- 1000 Friends of Iowa
- Allamakee County Protectors
- Citizens’ Climate Lobby
- Drake Environmental Action League
- Food and Water Watch
- Iowa Audubon Society
- Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
- Iowa Climate Advocates
- Iowa Interfaith Power and Light
- Iowa Farmers Union
- Iowa Pipeline Abatement Group
- Iowa Renewable Energy Association
- Iowa State University ActivUs
- Iowa State University Sustainable Agriculture Student Association
- No Bakken Here
- Science and Environmental Health Network
- Sierra Club (Iowa Chapter)
- Women, Food and Agriculture Network
- Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom