116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES - Opponents of the Dakota Access underground oil pipeline that passes through Iowa began a hunger strike Monday outside the headquarters of the Iowa Utilities Board in hopes of persuading state regulators to backtrack.
'They need to change their minds,” said Jessica Reznicek of Des Moines, one of three who began a protest fast outside the headquarters. 'When the pipeline breaks, the whole state of Iowa will be fasting. It's time the Iowa Utilities Board does the right thing and shut down the Dakota Access pipeline.”
The state board has issued permits for the route to cut diagonally across 18 Iowa counties, from northwest to southeast. Dakota Access has said the Iowa leg of the route is mostly done.
Reznicek said she and other members of a group calling themselves the Mississippi Stand Water Protectors planned to stage their vigil until state regulators agree to withdraw the permits.
Organizer Frank Cordaro said the effort is part of the Mississippi Stand - an encampment started in Lee County in August in opposition to the drilling under the Mississippi River that he said has grown into a mobile caravan of resistance across the state. He said the effort would go on indefinitely and urged other opponents to join in the fast.
Dozens of pipeline protesters already have been arrested in Iowa.
Julie Brown, a hunger strike participant who grew up in Jasper County, said that although much of the pipeline in Iowa is in the ground, there still is time to halt the project so it doesn't transport oil.
'Pipelines do leak,” Brown said. 'It's not a matter of if, but when.”