Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, has filed a petition with the Iowa Utilities Board requesting a permit to move ahead with a crude oil pipeline that would stretch more than 340 miles across 18 Iowa counties, including Story.
The petition was filed just more than a month after the conclusion of public meetings that IUB rules required ETP to hold in each of the 18 counties.
The pipeline’s proposed route begins in the Three Forks and Bakken shales in North Dakota and also cuts through South Dakota en route to a hub in Patoka, Ill.
Rob Hillesland, an IUB spokesman, said it could take months before the IUB reaches a decision on whether to grant the project a hazardous pipeline permit.
“The board does not set a hearing date until after board staff has reviewed the petition and the proposed route and determined that the petition is in substantial compliance with all requirements of board rules,” he said in an email.
“For a large project like the proposed Dakota Access line, that will likely take some time, perhaps months.”
Once the review is complete, if board members and other staff determine that the petition is in compliance, an evidentiary hearing will be scheduled.
“Because it is unknown how long it will take to complete staff’s initial review of the petition, there is no way to predict, at this time, when the hearing will be,” Hillesland said.
Soon after ETP filed the petition Tuesday, the group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement released a statement calling on the IUB and Gov. Terry Branstad to reject the project.
“The Iowa Utilities Board, not the governor, will decide on the matter,” Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers said. “The governor believes the Iowa Utilities Board is well-equipped to make that decision.”
All three members of the IUB, one Democrat and two Republicans, were appointed by Branstad, who has previously dismissed a petition asking him to issue an executive order blocking the pipeline in Iowa.
The ICCI statement pointed to an oil spill last weekend near Glendive, Mont., from a pipeline owned by Bridger Pipeline LLC that reportedly spilled an estimated 50,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil in the Yellowstone River, contaminating the local water supply with benzene. The accident prompted the state’s Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock to declare a state of emergency on Monday.
“By comparison, the Bakken Pipeline would be much larger: the proposed pipeline would be 30 inches in diameter, cover 346 miles and transport up to 540,000 barrels of crude oil through 18 Iowa counties, including every major watershed in the state,” the statement read.
“We are committed to protecting the environment and agriculture resources in Iowa,” Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman representing ETP, said in an email that touted the filing of the petition as “a key step in moving the process forward and building much-needed infrastructure that will transport domestically produced crude to U.S. refining markets.”
Earlier this month, a coalition of environmental groups filed a “motion for clarification” with the IUB alleging that public notices published for the ETP meetings in December were insufficient and contained information about the minimum depth the pipeline would be buried that was inconsistent with what ETP officials said at the meetings.
“All the publications, discussions and presentations have clearly stated a minimum pipeline cover commitment and no misrepresentation has occurred,” Granado said. “This motion is clearly an attempt to slow down the review process of this critical energy infrastructure project and the motion is disingenuous to protect the rights of the public or concerned landowners.”
Granado said the process of securing easements for the project was “going well” and the project itself was on track to be in service by the fourth quarter of 2016.
This article was written by Gavin Aronsen from Ames Tribune, Iowa and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.