The Iowa Utilities Board has yet to make a decision about the future of the Bakken pipeline.
The pipeline is the center of attention yet again after former lawmaker Ed Fallon was arrested for trespassing in the governor’s office last Monday. Fallon, who had been arrested in 2012, walked nearly 400 miles across Iowa in protest of the pipeline. He said he went to talk to the governor about eminent domain use and the pipeline and when he was asked to leave or be arrested, he refused to leave.
"This is a different situation. It was a private office that posted that it closes at 5 p.m. So we are going to plead guilty to the charge of trespass in this case,” said Fallon.
Fallon quickly turned the conversation to Senate Bill 506, a bill that’s passed the Government Oversight Committee and is currently on the Senate floor. The bill would require 75 percent of landowners to voluntarily give their land before the pipeline could begin moving forward.
Fallon doesn’t believe out-of-state businesses should be allowed to take private land from farmers and trade it for fair compensation.
"It’s remarkable; the pipeline officials think they have the right to trespass basically. Farmers discover them without knowing they’re coming, and they come back again and yet here I am… arrested for trespassing at the governor’s office!” said Fallon.
The Iowa Utilities Board told Local 5 they’re still undecided when it comes to the pipeline.
“The permission for permit for hazardous pipeline is still being reviewed by board staff and a hearing date hasn’t been established,” said Don Tormey, Iowa Utilities Board. “There’s no set timetable and there’s a lot of petitions been filed."
Charlie Wishman, Iowa Federation of Labor, says if it were to be approved, it would be a golden opportunity.
'It’s a big deal for us. There are a lot of jobs for construction and a lot of people skilled at their crafts,” said Wishman. "It’s possibly going to mean thousands of jobs and we feel comfortable that it will be built using skilled labor and best technology."
Even though the pipeline hasn’t been approved, Energy Transfer Partners is moving forward in bringing pipe to Jasper County. Spokeswoman Vicki Granado said, “There is pipe being delivered to the area that will be purchased by Dakota Access pending approval of the pipeline. We continue to conduct civil, environmental and archeological surveys along the proposed route. We are nearing 55% in terms of the surveys completed in Iowa. We expect this number to continue to increase now that we are through the winter months. Additionally, we continue to work through the IUB approval process.”
The company is hoping to begin the project in early 2016.
The Dakota Access, Bakken Pipeline is a $3.8 billion project that would cross more than 1,000 miles, 375 of which are in Iowa.
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