DES MOINES – Across the state, engineers and construction workers are rejoicing. That’s because the Iowa Utilities Board voted 2-1 in favor of Dakota Access starting the Bakken Pipeline project.
It was a decision, nearly two years in the making. Dakota Access has encountered several bumps in the road in its plans to build the Bakken Pipeline, but on Monday, it got the green light to start building on eased land in Iowa.
“There’s been a long process and the board has been very transparent throughout that entire process,” said Don Tormey, spokesman for the Iowa Utilities Board.
Those pipes have been sitting, waiting in rural Jasper County and could begin moving soon, and that’s good news for the local engineering union.
“Long time coming,” said Chad Carter, vice president of the local engineering union. ”Very pleased with their clarification.”
About 900 people are expected to work 12 hour days or longer to get this work done by the fall.
“If we don’t do this soon, we’re going to lose workers to other jurisdictions, other states,” explained Carter. “So, we need to put Iowans to work in Iowa.”
But there’s still a group that doesn’t believe this battle is over. They staged this elaborate protest outside of the capitol.
Even with the board’s decision on Monday, they’re feeling good about their chance, especially after the announcement from board chairman Geri Huser.
“We think that’s a sign she recognizes that by modifying their order, the IUB is going against what they originally said,” said Adam Mason of Iowa CCI.
The concerns about the environment and land owners rights are as strong as ever, and they’re showing no signs of backing down now.
“There’s going to be lots and lots of little skirmishes all over the state, where landowners continue to hold out, forcing them to use eminent domain, and we want to encourage them in this fight,” said Mason.
“We’re going to keep supporting those landowners who are holding out and haven’t given any easements, and we want to make sure that no oil ever goes through the pipeline,” said Brenda Brink, organizer of the rally.
Work can’t actually begin for another two weeks, so Dakota Access can notify landowners. The company says its plan remains the same: to have the pipeline in service by the end of this year.
There are still five lawsuits against the IUB in the state of Iowa. Two of those cases have been given to the board, though one is expected to be withdrawn soon. Stay with Local 5 for the latest developments.