Iowa lawmakers urge independent environmental study for Bakken Pipeline

They say Texas company should pay for study

oil pipeline
oil pipeline

DES MOINES — Several Iowa lawmakers are calling for an independent environmental study of a proposed crude oil pipeline through Iowa financed by the Texas company requesting a permit to build the Bakken Pipeline.

The Iowa Utilities Board should commission the study, and use the finding to inform whether to grant or refuse Dakota Access, LLC.’s permit request, according to the March 5 letter signed by 15 lawmakers, including 12 Democrats and three Republicans in the Iowa House. The board should also place conditions or restrictions on the permit, if approved, or reject the application altogether, the letter stated,

“Preserving our natural resources and protecting the health and safety of Iowans are public necessities,” the letter stated.

The group said they have concerns after pipeline accidents in Montana, Louisiana, Arkansas, Michigan, California, Missouri, Texas and Ohio.

“We do not prejudge the issues that would be explored in an environmental assessment,” the letter stated.

Dakota, which is owned by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, is proposing the 1,100-mile-long pipeline from the Bakken supply area in North Dakota to Pakota, Ill., including 343 miles cutting diagonally across 17 Iowa counties.

An advocacy group that opposes the pipeline said they were pleased by the letter.

“Their comment demonstrates the need for a truly comprehensive review process before consideration is given to granting the permit for the proposed Bakken Pipeline,” said Iowa CCI member Peter Clay of Des Moines.

In the letter, the lawmakers detailed a list of eight concerns raised by citizens they feel should be investigated:

1. Safety risks and hazards associated with the product(s) to be transported through the pipeline;

2. Potential damage to water, land, soil, water, air and wildlife/wildlife habitat during construction;

3. Threats to the environment, farmland, wildlife and public health as a result of spills or explosions;

4. Spill prevention and clean up provisions;

5. Liability for damages to both public and private property and sufficiency of resources to cover such liability;

6. Adequacy of inspection/monitoring/enforcement mechanisms and resources;

7. Responsibility for planning, training, and equipping for emergency response;

8. Indirect impacts of the oil extraction process facilitated by the pipeline that may affect public health and safety as well as environmental security.

The lawmakers signing the letter include: Charles Isenhart, D-Dubuque, Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, Sharon Steckman, D-Mason City, Marti Anderson, D-Des Moines, Curt Hanson, D-Fairfield, Greg Heartsill, R-Melcher-Dalls, Ruth Ann Gaines, D-Des Moines, Mary Gaskill, D-Ottumwa, Jerry Kearns, D-Keokuk, Dan Kelley, D-Newton, Bob Kressig, D-Cedar Falls, Vicki Lensing, D-Iowa City, Zach Nunn, R-Altoona, Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, and Liz Bennett, D-Cedar Rapids.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.