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Sen. Grassley says pipeline oil safer than rail

While U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley hasn’t either supported or opposed the proposed Bakken Pipeline, he certainly has supported pipelines as a concept.

In Thursday’s weekly conference call, which involved the Newton Daily News, the senator said he feels moving oil products via a pipeline is much safer than moving products by rail, citing a number of recent accidents.

He said while the higher-profile Keystone XL project — which President Barack Obama could approve at any time without Congressional approval — is a different type of legislative challenge, but he believes both Keystone and Bakken would support American jobs.

“Right now, the states are ready to go with Keystone,” Grassley said. “One reason you might want pipelines, generally, is because we’re having all these accidents with so much oil being transported on rail. I feel it would be safer — and less environmentally hazardous — if we had the pipelines.”

The Senate came up one vote short of the required 60 votes needed to approve construction of the Keystone project in a roll-call vote taken last November. Grassley, a Republican, voted in favor of the project, while then-Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin — a Democrat — voted against, along with 38 other Democrats and the two independents, Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, and Angus King, of Maine.

Related: Groups submit opposition against oil pipeline across Iowa

No Republicans voted against the project.

The Bakken Pipeline is subject to approval by the Iowa Utilities Board, a three-member panel that will meet on that topic, beginning in mid-November.

Three Iowa landowners filed a lawsuit in late July against the IUB, claiming the panel does not have the authority to grant the use of eminent domain in the construction of the proposed Dakota Access crude oil pipeline. Nearly 34 miles of the proposed pipeline route goes through Jasper County, and a stockpile of 30-inch pipe continues to grow in a farm field north of Highway 6 East along East 76th Street North, three miles east of Newton.

Grassley issued the reminder that Congress recently voted to delegate the president to “fast track” an international deal like the Keystone project, but Obama has shown no inclination to act on it. The six-term senator also said he feels states that are waiting to submit emissions-reduction plans to hit federally assigned targets is “a case of slowing things down.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has actively encouraged state governors not to comply with federal regulations, at least temporarily, suggesting states “think twice before submitting a state plan” and to “hold back on the costly process of complying.”

Grassley said there are not enough votes in the Senate to override any veto Obama might make what the senator calls the “war on coal.” He said there might be some action Congress could take regarding EPA appropriation earmarking.

“Just because states can not go along with it (Obama’s EPA targets) doesn’t mean the states will not go along with it,” Grassley said. “You’ve also got court action likely.”

This article was written by Jason W. Brooks from Newton Daily News, Iowa and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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