Dakota Access Sponsors ISU Study On Pipeline Installation Effects

Mehari Tekeste, left, and Mark Hanna at the experimental site. | Photo: Iowa State University

A team of researchers at Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will conduct a five-year study that will examine the impact of pipeline construction on crop production and soil compaction. The project, which is funded by Dakota Access Pipeline LLC, will collect data through 2021 on section of university-owned farmland traversed by the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“The overall goal of the project is to quantify the impact of construction utilities equipment, field traffic and deep tillage on crop yield and soil compaction,” according to a university news release.

Mehari Tekeste, an assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, and Mark Hanna, an extension agricultural engineer, will lead the multiyear project.

“We hope our research will develop data to support future recommendations on the restoration of agricultural soil and crop productivity to pre-construction conditions,” Tekeste said. “This will be of benefit to industry and governmental institutions, as well as other researchers and extension specialists.

Dakota Access has long been committed to minimizing potential impacts from pipeline installation and continues to work with landowners across Iowa to ensure land is restored to preconstruction conditions. Specifically, these efforts included the development of a comprehensive Agricultural Mitigation Plan and the enlistment of two independent contractors to advise and monitor the acquisition, construction and reclamation processes.

Local Economies Flourish As Pipeline Construction Nears End

A new column co-authored by Ed Wiederstein, chairman of the MAIN Coalition, and Bill Gerhard, president of the Iowa State Building & Construction Trades Council, makes it abundantly clear that the Dakota Access Pipeline is benefiting the Iowa economy.

“Throughout Iowa work continues on the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and already the long-touted benefits are being felt from Lyon County to Lee County. From the beginning we’ve touted the benefits and supported its construction because of the good it will do for our state — and now, with the project more than three quarters of the way complete in Iowa — we continue to see the many benefits we have extolled over the past two years.”

Wiederstein and Gerhard have been strong advocates for the landmark energy infrastructure project, often citing the thousands of jobs and millions in economic activity it will generate. But now, as evident in communities across Iowa, the case no longer has to be made, the benefits are here and they’re making a difference.

““The 4,000 construction jobs being generated along the 348 miles of pipeline represent a direct cash infusion into local economies in each county along the pipeline route. Recently, the Sioux City Journal wrote, ‘It’s not easy to put an exact dollar amount on the economic impact of the pipeline construction, local leaders say, but it’s not hard to find evidence that those workers are spending money in the area.’”

The influx of pipeline workers has meant restaurants, hotels, convenience stores and laundry facilities remain busy and close to capacity. That’s good news for business owners and the local economy, results that were consistently alluded to throughout 18 open houses across Iowa as well as during the Iowa Utilities Board hearings in November and December of 2015. Iowa stands to benefit from this pipeline from the construction phase through its operation.”

Wiederstein and Gerhard also note that unlike many large infrastructure projects, Dakota Access, despite being a public benefit, comes at no cost to taxpayers. “Large public infrastructure investments often come at a significant cost to state taxpayers, who are left holding the bag when road crews have finished rebuilding bridges or repaving highways,” they wrote. “But private infrastructure investments like the Dakota Access Pipeline do no such thing.”

Click here to read the full column in the Des Moines Register.

Economic Impacts of Pipeline are Already Benefiting Iowa

Throughout Iowa work continues on the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and already the long-touted benefits are being felt from Lyon County to Lee County. From the beginning we’ve touted the benefits and supported its construction because of the good it will do for our state — and now, with the project more than three quarters of the way complete in Iowa — we continue to see the many benefits we have extolled over the past two years.

The over $1 billion private investment in Iowa alone is critical to modernizing Iowa’s energy transportation network already crossing the state in the form of pipelines, railways, powerlines, and waterways.

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Governors Urge Army Corps to Issues Dakota Access Easement

Governors Urge Army Corps to Issues Dakota Access Easement


Earlier this week, the governors of Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to adhere to the regulatory process and issue the final easement necessary to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In the Oct. 25 letter, the three governors highlighted that more than 96 percent of the 1,172 mile infrastructure project has already been thoroughly vetted and approved by state utility regulators. Furthermore, the governors noted that Dakota Access has satisfied all of the established federal requirements needed to move forward.

“As governors of three states which the Dakota Access Pipeline route crosses – Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota we write to you today to ask the United States Army Corps of Engineers to adhere to the process which was in place when this project began as you make the decision to issue the final federal easement required for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Missouri River in North Dakota,” the governors wrote

They went on to caution that further delays will likely result in negative impacts to their states and the region. “Construction delays will negatively impact landowners and farmers who will risk having multiple growing seasons impacted by construction activities,” they wrote. It is in the best interest of all parties to mitigate any further negative impacts.”

The letter—signed by Govs. Terry E. Branstad of Iowa, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, and Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota—is the latest of in a series of recent high-profile calls for the Army Corps and the Obama administration to allow this critical infrastructure project to be completed.

Dakota Access Pipeline Making A Difference In Iowa

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.

Dakota Access Pipeline Construction Making Economic Impact

The walk to get to dinner or a movie in downtown Cherokee has gotten a little longer since late spring, when parking became harder to come by. With a number of construction workers involved with the Dakota Access oil pipeline and other major projects taking up temporary residence here, businesses in Cherokee and other Northwest Iowa cities and towns are seeing a healthy revenue boost. “In the evenings, there are very few parking spots available,” Cherokee city manager Sam Kooiker said. “There are a lot of people downtown in the evenings. It’s been exciting.”

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Lee County Supervisors See Pipeline Construction, Safety Precautions up Close

Throughout the lengthy and exhaustive approval process for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, representatives of the men and women who would be put to work on the project repeatedly stated their intention to build the pipeline with safety as the top priority. This week, Supervisors from Lee County, Iowa decided to see firsthand just how the construction of the pipeline would look. Their visit was covered by a reporter at The Hawkeye and described what they saw.

 Board chairman Ron Fedler, Matt Pflug, Gary Folluo and Rick Larkin were given a rare glimpse at the progress of the pipeline, which nearly splits Lee County in half, from it’s northwest corner at the Van Buren county line, south of Montrose along the Mississippi River.

 The pipeline enters Lee County west of Donnellson, then cuts 30 miles across the county before crossing the Mississippi River into Hancock County, Ill. In total, the 1,168-mile Dakota Access pipeline will run from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to an oil refining hub in Patoka, Ill., transporting crude oil through a 30-inch underground pipeline.

 “It blows my mind how they put this all together,” Pflug remarked as they gathered along the riverbank before heading to the site of the Mississippi River bore.

The article went into detail about the steps taken to ensure safety at the drilling site.

 Michels, the horizontal drilling company employed by the project’s contractor, Precision Pipeline, keeps between seven and 10 laborers, operators, teamsters and drillers on-hand about 10 hours per day working on the bore.

 “These guys really take a lot of care in what they do,” Weaver said. “I mean, there’s a lot riding on a job like this, right here. We have to make sure that we do it right.”

 For the men and women in the oil pipeline industry, it’s “all about the integrity of the pipe.”

Once completed, the pipeline will carry Dakota oil to a refinery in Illinois, and significantly boosts the energy security of the Midwest as well as the nation.

Dakota Access Opponents’ Extrajudicial Actions Have Real Safety Implications

Some of the key points throughout the entire review process for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline were “is this pipeline safe,” “will the job site be safe,” and “will those job sites protect the environment?”

These are questions we all had, after all, this is our land, these are our communities. If this work is going to take place, safety is of the utmost concern both during construction and operation. That’s why we had a review process that considered all these questions, and more.

Throughout the review we learned about the intricacies of soil restoration, X-Ray weld scanning technology, remote actuated shutoff valves, 24/7 monitoring, and horizontal directional drilling. These were matters that were carefully explained by the company throughout each of the lengthy review processes both in open testimony and public documents so that each state, through their utility regulatory bodies, and the federal government, through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, could make an informed decision. Only after all had been satisfied was the pipeline deemed safe and approved for construction.

But now that construction has begun, opponents of the project have taken matters into their own hands by committing acts of destruction, trespassing, and refusing compliance with lawful authorities’ orders meant to keep our communities safe.

Rather than pursue lawful action, or accept the fact that this pipeline was indeed thoroughly reviewed and that informed decision makers did their due diligence. These fringe groups have taken to physical action to stop the pipeline on the lawful easements where construction is taking place.

This type of activity endangers local workers, communities, and possibly even the opponents themselves, who do not have the proper training or safety understanding to move on or around the active job sites.

We’ve talked in the past about our disagreements, but the simple fact remains this pipeline was approved many times over.

We urge the opponents of this project to not put themselves in harm’s way and to denounce those who do. It does all of us no good to endanger their own safety and the safety of those working on the pipeline.

Dakota Access Review Exemplifies Thorough Energy Permitting Process

It’s safe to say the Dakota Access Pipeline has received one of the most thorough reviews of a domestic infrastructure project in recent memory. For many of us this project has been a long time coming, but even just this weekend, despite all permitting decisions completed, opponents of the project are still attempting to halt its progress because according to their message, nobody was listening.

But the facts show this just isn’t true. Everyone had a fair opportunity to present their interests and multiple jurisdictions approved this project independently of one another.

Don’t believe us? Let’s take a look at the numbers:

  • 3 North Dakota Public Services Commission Hearings
  • 4 South Dakota Public Utility Board Meetings
  • 18 Iowa IUB Meetings in each county along the pipeline route
  • Nearly a month of official testimony in front of the Iowa Utilities Board
  • Nearly a year and a half of review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

And that doesn’t even take into account the thousands of comments and letters sent in to each jurisdiction throughout a nearly two year process. So if two years of time in front of public servants from four states and the federal government isn’t enough time to make a case then it’s hard to imagine any scenario where opponents of Dakota Access would be satisfied.

DNR Decision Shows Dakota Access ‘Unanticipated Discoveries’ Plan Works


Iowa state officials have lifted a temporary stop-work order that had been issued for the Sioux River Wildlife Management Area following a discovery of previously undocumented cultural artifacts. According to the Des Moines Register, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) granted Dakota Access an amendment to its permit after the company proposed to boring underneath the protected area. “The bottom line is that they will go around the area by going underneath it,” said DNR spokesperson Kevin Baskins.

In an email sent last week to DNR Director Chuck Gipp and obtained by the Register, State Archaeologist John Doershuk also expressed satisfaction with the revised plan to avoid the sensitive areas.

State Archaeologist John Doershuk said in an email last week to DNR Director Chuck Gipp that the proposed directional boring construction method is a satisfactory avoidance procedure from an archaeological standpoint that he supports in this case.

The discovery of the archaeological site and subsequent review that has occurred over the past few weeks illustrates that the Unanticipated Discoveries Plan prepared by Dakota Access is an effective framework both in theory and application.