A few years ago an independent study found that construction of the pipeline in Iowa would amount to $628 million in direct economic benefits while also generating millions in added sales and property taxes. These numbers seemed impressive on paper, but today, the tangible impact they are having is nothing short of extraordinary.
In fact, a recent article published by the Sioux City Journal highlighted just how the $3.8 billion project is making a difference in communities across Northwest Iowa. For many, the impact of the project was felt not long after construction began with workers and their families delivering local businesses an entirely new customer base.
“It’s always hard to gauge the direct economic impact, but you can see those people around,” said Curt Strouth of the Sheldon, Iowa, Chamber and Development Corp. “We definitely noticed the workforce that came through. It’s been a definite influx.”
Similarly, Lyon County Development director Steve Simmons says the influx of pipeline workers has benefited small businesses in the county. “They did see a nice bump in business during the construction process,” Simons said.
In Buena Vista County, Gary Lalone, executive director of Storm Lake United, echoed both Simmons and Strouth. “I know our campground is full. I know a lot of those people, when they come off of work, are in our restaurants and bars,” he said.
This is not the first story we’ve read about the positive contribution the Dakota Access Pipeline is making in communities across the Midwest, but it is a good reminder that, despite the constant flow of political rhetoric, this project is quietly helping others succeed.