Last week, a bipartisan group of Iowa lawmakers submitted a letter urging the Iowa Utilities Board to continue their review of the Dakota Access Pipeline project without imposing additional regulatory requirements. The lawmakers encouraged the board to proceed in the professional and unbiased manner for which the agency is known.
The Dakota Access Pipeline proposal is currently in the review process by the Iowa Utilities Board. The submittal of this proposal was preceded by meetings with landowners and the public, where the company, Dakota Access LLC, received input from various stakeholders including local community members. The approval process is fully independent of the Iowa legislature, removing any undue political influence. Governor Branstad has urged the legislature to allow the IUB process to run its course as well.
The MAIN Coalition applauds the determination of the lawmakers to maintain the agency’s independence in reviewing this and all applications. As the letter states, it’s vital that Iowa not become a state viewed by would-be investors as a landscape resistant to new development.
We believe that our region needs to continue to develop its energy infrastructure in a responsible manner. Our land is out most valuable resource, but it can be preserved and protected while still pursuing the important goal of energy independence. Ensuring that energy can flow safely and reliably to consumers will provide easier access to the investments that are so critical to growing our economy, and sustaining long term job growth.
It is our view that the Iowa Utilities Board has a responsibility to go through the all of the relevant data with care to evaluate the safety merits of this project. Construction of any pipeline is governed by numerous laws on the local, state, and federal level. Exhaustive surveys are conducted to ensure minimal impact to sensitive areas, cultural landmarks, and wells. The Dakota Access Pipeline is no exception.
We encourage the board to base its decision on the facts, and allow the regulatory system already in place to guide their decision making process. Let the merits of this investment be the deciding factor, and let’s keep rhetoric and talking points – and most of all, politics – as far away from the process as we can.
The full text of the letter has been published on IUB’s website here.