The Dakota Access Pipeline is nearly halfway done and according to The State Journal-Register, work is proceeding smoothly in the Illinois section of the route.
Morgan County highway engineer Matt Coultas favorably described the hands on approach taken by the contractor building the project, Precision Pipeline from Wisconsin:
“I remember another pipeline that came through the area a few years ago, and this has been most pleasurable compared to that… It’s been nice to be in the know about where they’re at. I get a daily email about what areas they are working at in the county and what activities are happening in those areas so I can know what to expect. I’ve been pretty appreciative of that.”
Murrayville Village President Jay Lewis praised the awareness of and sensitivity towards the local community exhibited by workers:
“They do a good job with the roads. They try to accommodate for traffic and keep things cleaned and swept up. I’ve seen the sweeper out on the road several times… We talked to a couple of the bosses for the pipeline and told them that with school starting back up and all of the truck traffic to be sure their guys are watching out, keeping to the speed limits and everything. They’ve done a super job with that.”
Lewis also mentioned the economic benefits of having the pipeline workers in the county:
“several of the guys working on the pipeline stay around Murrayville, they buy their gas and eat at our establishments… They are always respectful to everybody and are very well-mannered guys that try to help out in any way they can.”
Rhonda Cors, the president of the Village of Woodson, IL, expressed similar sentiments about the pipeline’s economic impact, describing the pipeline as “a great thing, it brings a few more jobs to our area.”
Village President James Rausch of Meredosia echoed the sentiment, saying the workers are:
“…are very friendly and accommodating… They visit local businesses, the restaurants and liquor establishments, and never a minute of trouble out of any of them here in this community (…) They are very conscientious about how they conduct business and how they treat the land. Once they’ve completed, you go back and look at it, and you can’t tell that there’s ever been anything there.”
The landowners too, have expressed satisfaction with the way the company has interacted with them. Bob Dahman, an 86 year-old landowner from Scott County said:
“My sons and I met with them several times, and they treated us real nice. They’ve already gone through my farm and got it buried. We are pleased with the way they spread the dirt back out. We pulled up right beside where they were digging and watched them work. They put in a 30-inch pipe, I think, and they buried it pretty deep, too. (…) When it came to the final go-around and they gave me the money, I just divided it all up between me and my grandkids and my kids (…) it was a hell of a lot more than I ever gave for the farm. It was about 20 times what I paid for the farm in 1949 or 1950.”
Elsewhere, Mount Sterling City Administrator Vada Yingling expressed satisfaction over the sales tax revenue that the workers have generated for local communities:
“A lot of the workers are staying locally, they are spending dollars in our community, they are buying gas and food, paying rent, coming out in the evening and enjoying our establishments. They are creating sales tax revenue for us. A handful brought campers in to our fairgrounds that are paying to stay there. It’s been a shot in the arm for us.”
Once completed, the Dakota Access Pipeline will connect the Bakken oil play with a refinery in Patoka, IL, and will continue to benefit Illinois in several million dollars in tax revenue annually.
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