This week, MAIN Coalition Chairman Ed Wiederstein and Andy Peterson, president and CEO of the Greater North Dakota Chamber—a member of the MAIN Coalition—had a series of thoughtful opinion pieces published in a collection of media outlets across the Midwest.
Wiederstein and Peterson, both respected leaders in our local business and agricultural communities, made convincing arguments that partisan politics and special interests have no place in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s criteria-based assessment of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Environmental groups opposed to all forms of energy and infrastructure projects have urged members of the federal government to call into question previous engineering and environmental decisions made by the Army Corps. … But now the Corps is being asked by individuals within the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Interior to re-review its previous decision, because of the prodding by these special interest groups and despite the fact the decisions already have been made in conjunction with an environmental study from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Furthermore, Wiederstein and Peterson, who were signatories to a recent letter submitted to President Obama on this matter, emphasized that further delays threaten to extend the construction timeline into two growing seasons and hold hostage tens of thousands of jobs. Clint Walker, a member of IUOE Local 234 echoed these concerns in a letter to the editor published in the Newton Daily News, saying:
Iowa’s farmers should have the least impact as possible on their agricultural cycles, regardless if the pipeline crosses their land or not. My brothers and I want to get the job done right the first time, and that means we should be starting work as soon as possible.
Steve McKibben, a resident of Clive, IA, also weighed in, writing in the Des Moines Register that:
If it’s a job that can be done safely in less than a calendar year, then it should be. Delays on this project mean lost revenues for farmers, and that is something we should avoid at all costs.
The mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dates back to the founding of our nation and has provided the framework for landmark infrastructure projects like the Continental Railroad and Golden Gate Bridge. There is no denying the support for the Dakota Access Pipeline in communities across the region despite a vocal minority who would rather dismantle our national institutions than seen any benefit of this critical project.