Bakken Pipeline protesters arrested in Boone County after blocking construction site

Group of activists include veteran and first-time protesters

By Orko Manna | omanna@weareiowa.com

Published 08/31 2016 10:29PM

Updated 08/31 2016 10:29PM

BOONE COUNTY - Construction is well underway on the Bakken Pipeline in Iowa, but that is not stopping protesters from making their voices heard.

Hundreds gathered Wednesday in Boone County, getting right in the way of digging equipment. Some were even arrested for trespassing. They say they will do whatever it takes to stop construction.

Protesters were given an ultimatum - to move along or get thrown in jail. But the warning did not phase them. In total, 30 people were arrested.
 
"We know we're taking a risk, we know we're making a sacrifice," said Ed Fallon, the director for Bold Iowa. "It's not comfortable to go to jail, if somebody puts your hands behind your back and cuff them. It's something we want to do, we just feel we don't have any more options and this point."
 
Protesters marched in Boone County, joining together to fight against the Bakken Pipeline.
 
We can't let them block traffic or create a safety issue," said Major Randy Kunert with the Iowa State Patrol. "It's been a very peaceful group, and it's too bad that some of them elected to be arrested because our goal was certainly not to arrest anybody."
 
Several organizations who have been battling the Bakken Pipeline from the beginning took another stand, but the crowd also included first-time protesters.
 
"We decided that we would come this afternoon to support people who are willing to be arrested, to support the people who are making a voice," said protester Phyllis Schrag of Ames. "I want somebody to stand up and notice that there are many, many people here saying this is wrong."
 
The main issue for them?
 
"There's no way that Bakken can guarantee that there won't be spills, leakage and those things are not small, they run into tens of thousands of gallons of oil," said protester Larry Schrag of Ames.
 
"Here in Iowa, we are fighting a fight to keep our water pure, drinkable anyway," said protester Celia Dunnington of Iowa City. "You can find substitutes for oil, you can't find substitutes for water. So as a human being, I will stand for this anywhere, anytime."
 
Protesters say they are hoping more action like what happened Wednesday afternoon in Boone County will lead to Dakota Access to stop constructing the pipeline.
 
Again, the Iowa State Patrol says 30 people were arrested during Wednesday's peaceful protest. All of them were for trespassing, and none of them were because of violence.

 

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