Mike Ralston of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry and Bill Gerhard of the Iowa State Building and Constructions Trade Council represent an interesting partnership. While one man speaks for Iowa’s businesses and the other represents thousands of working men and women, respectively, they both agree upon the economic benefits of energy infrastructure expansion and modernization. Published in The Des Moines Register, their joint op-ed highlights the benefits of the Dakota Access Pipeline for the stakeholders they represent, as well as the public at large.
In their op-ed, Ralston and Gerhard assert that while oil will move from its extraction point to the consumer, it is up to us to determine the safest and best way to do so:
The reality is with the need for domestic crude oil established, we need to get it from point A to points B, C and beyond. Oil is primarily transported from production fields in one of three manners — by pipeline, by rail or by truck. Pipelines are by far the safest and most efficient way to move oil. The Dakota Access Pipeline will move nearly 450,000 barrels a day. At that rate it will replace four to seven unit trains a day.
Getting crude oil into pipelines and out of the rail network will benefits the region’s farmers, Raslton and Gerhard point out:
Iowa’s agriculture sector will also benefit greatly from this transfer of crude oil from rails to pipeline. The current demand on rails to move oil has led to a shortage, leaving fewer railcars for moving agricultural and other products and sending prices higher. With the pipeline, farmers will face less competition. Our highways will benefit from fewer tanker trucks as well.
Finally, Ralston and Gerhard encourage the IUB to act:
Years of planning and months of debate have gone into the review process that resulted in green lights from North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois. We can be proud of the careful consideration that the Iowa Utilities Board has given the matter, but further prolonging a decision does no service to any party involved. It’s time for Iowa to lead by providing access to our valuable domestic energy resources.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is expected to begin construction in 2016, and will employ anywhere between 2,000 and 4,000 Iowans during the assembly of the line.
See the full text of the op-ed here.