Environmental Concerns Stymie Development of the Bakken Crude Oil Pipeline in Iowa

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Environmental Concerns Stymie Development of the Bakken Crude Oil Pipeline in Iowa

Thu, 03/24/2016 - 09:49
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Dakota Access Pipeline Project Iowa Map (© 2015 Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.)
Dakota Access Pipeline Project Iowa Map (© 2015 Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.)

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) has refused a request made by Dakota Access, subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, to expedite the final permit to construct the 558 - km Iowa portion of the 1825-km, 30 inch diameter interstate Bakken crude oil pipeline.

The pipeline will transport up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields through South Dakota and Iowa and ultimately to Patoka, Ill., where it will link to another pipeline to the Gulf Coast.

"The Board will deny the request for expedited treatment and allow the parties a reasonable opportunity to comment on Dakota Access’s pre-permit compliance filing," the board said. "These compliance filings are not perfunctory. The parties, and the Board, must have time to review the filings to determine whether they are in compliance with the terms and conditions of the Board’s order."

As part of the conditions of an IUB construction permit granted on 10 March, Dakota Access’ parent company Energy Transfer Partners will have to give unconditional guarantees it would pay for damages associated with a pipeline oil spill or leak. The company also filed a modified agricultural mitigation plan, provide a timeline explaining when construction notices will be given and modify landowner condemnation easement forms. These guarantees were secured as part of the deal which granted the company a conditional construction permit and eminent domain rights.

Wallace Taylor, a lawyer for the local chapter of the Sierra Club, said "what this is all about is protecting the landowners and protecting the public and protecting the environment from spills." He added that he and other parties intervening in the pipeline case have received confidential business information filed by Dakota Access but have signed agreements not to disclose that information.

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