by Whitney Flach
Dallas-based Dakota Access LLC, is building a pipeline across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. The project is $3.8 billion and will extend 1,134-miles. In Iowa, the pipeline will span 346 miles. The pipeline will stretch about 19 miles diagonally across Webster County. It will cross 23 county roads, passing just north of Gowrie and south of Harcourt.
Dakota Access spokeswoman Lisa Dillinger said, that Dakota Access does not provide construction timeline specifics. Dillinger said early stages of construction activities are underway all throughout Iowa, including staking, grading, clearing, temporary road construction, and building of temporary fences and gates. It takes approximately 30 to 45 days to construct approximately 30 miles of pipe, not including restoration activities. Dakota Access said it hopes to have the pipeline in service by the fourth quarter of this year.
Webster County officials don’t have a firm timeline on when construction will begin on an oil pipeline in the county. However, the pipeline company now has easements on all property it needs in Webster County for the route, including parcels taken by eminent domain, officials said Tuesday. There are reports that staking and mowing have begun near Harcourt, Iowa. Randy Will, Webster County Engineer told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that he talked to the contractor building this portion of the route. “He was pretty guarded with his information,” Will said.
The county’s haul road agreement with Dakota Access requires them to give the county 48 hours notice before doing any work that impacts the county’s right of way, Will said. They haven’t been given that notice yet.
The office of Drainage Clerk Doreen Pliner said, that the company expects to start working on Friday in Webster County on additional clearing and fencing operations. Digging under roads has just started in Jasper and Story county, but not yet in Boone.
Webster County, Sheriff Jim Stubbs confirmed that there were eight parcels to begin with, but four of them reached voluntary settlements with the company. Stubbs said, four hearings were held for four different parcels. The proceedings involve a compensation commission which meets to determine a fair value for the permanent easement taken by Dakota Access through eminent domain. The commission doesn’t address whether or not eminent domain should have been granted, which was already determined in April by the Iowa Utilities Board.
A lawsuit is still going in Polk County which is challenging the company’s right to use eminent domain.