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Labor Leader Stresses Importance for a Timely Start to Construction Activities

 

With the unanimous decision of the Iowa utilities Board to approve the construction permit of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the importance of a timely construction schedule was stressed by Ryan Hollinrake of Indianola in coverage of the decision provided by The Des Moines Register:

Ryan Hollinrake, coordinator for apprenticeship and training for Operating Engineers Local 234 in Des Moines, said Friday that about 400 heavy equipment operators are expected to be employed on the Iowa pipeline project and that they are anxious to start work. “We also don’t want this project to be impacting farmers” over two crop-growing seasons, he said.

The Dakota Access pipeline project is awaiting a sign-off from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for crossings under its jurisdiction. Construction of the pipeline is expected to employ 2,000-4,000 skilled workers in Iowa alone.


Statements on the IUB’s Decision to Approve Dakota Access Pipeline Construction Permit

On Friday, the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) approved Dakota Access’s permit application following an extensive review.

The MAIN Coalition’s Chairman, Ed Wiederstein, stated the following upon approval:

I want to thank the Iowa Utilities Board for its thorough review process and approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline project’s construction permit application.  This decision to approve is a victory for Iowa, which stands to gain much through the Dakota Access Pipeline, including much-needed access to a safe and reliable supply of domestic energy that will fuel our state, region and country.  There is no more reliable, no safer, and no more cost-effective way to improve our energy supply than to build pipeline infrastructure. I greatly look forward to seeing Iowa draw upon this project’s many benefits for years to come and thank the Iowa Utilities Board for their careful deliberation and thoughtful decision-making.

Bill Gerhard, President of the Iowa State Building and Constructions Trade Council, issued the following statement after hearing today’s decision: 

The Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council applauds the Iowa Utilities Board’s approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The Board has carefully considered public input, project merits, as well as the thousands of Iowans who will benefit from the pipeline’s construction. The Board’s decision supports both the long- and short-term needs of Iowa’s workers as well as our national security as we find ways to utilize America’s abundant energy resources in the safest, most efficient manner possible.

Mike Ralston, President of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, commended the IUB on their announcement:   

On behalf of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI), I commend the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) for approving construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through our state.  ABI, which has been a unified voice for business in Iowa since 1903, recognizes the value this project brings to our region in terms of new jobs, increased tax revenue, economic growth and affordable fuel to power local manufacturing, agricultural and other fuel-reliant businesses. The sooner construction of the pipeline proceeds, the sooner Iowa businesses and employees will begin to reap the economic benefits of the project.

Dwight Baldwin, President of the Iowa State Grange, applauded the approval: 

The Iowa State Grange applauds the Iowa Utilities Board approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Dakota Access represents an opportunity for Iowa to benefit from American energy that will help lower farmers’ costs throughout our state. We are pleased this project will be constructed in a manner that puts agricultural interests at the forefront of construction plans and will respect the integrity of our land.

Dawn Carlson, President and CEO of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa, stated the following on the news of the approval: 

The Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores of Iowa is proud to see the Iowa Utilities Board green-light the Dakota Access pipeline project. The Dakota Access Pipeline will continue to grow Iowa’s economy by increasing energy access for agriculture and industry as well as create new opportunities for workers within our own association, as well as the laborers and manufacturers required to construct this project.

 


Iowa Awards Dakota Access Pipeline Permit

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) determined today that Dakota Access has complied with the requirements set forth in its decision last month, and has voted to award the permit to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline.

After months of review, thousands of pages of testimony, and with the support of the members of the state’s labor groups, agriculture community, and business owners, the Dakota Access Pipeline can proceed in the state of Iowa. Thanks to the IUB’s decision thousands of Iowa’s workers will soon be put to work on the multi-billion dollar project, and the state can expect to see revenue being generated for necessary public investments.

We commend the Iowa Utilities Board for their work and look forward to seeing construction get underway soon.


North Dakota School Fund Receives $600,000 in Easement Payments

The Common Schools Trust Fund of North Dakota will be receiving a substantial boost in its mission to fund schools throughout the state. In exchange for crossing land owned by the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands, the Fund will be receiving around $600,000.

The news was covered by Ag Week, among others, whose article stated:

The Board of University and School Lands unanimously approved easements Thursday for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross tracts of trust land in McKenzie, Williams and Mountrail counties.

The terms of the agreement included payment of $425 per rod (there are 320 rods in a mile) or a little more than $600,000 total, which was in line with what private landowners in the area received, said State Land Commissioner Lance Gaebe.

The dollars go into the Common Schools Trust Fund, which supports schools statewide.

Energy Transfer Partners, which proposes the pipeline that would run from the Bakken to Patoka, Ill., issued the check following Thursday’s meeting, Gaebe said.

The MAIN Coalition is pleased to see that the positive effects of Dakota Access’ construction have begun. As we have often stated, energy infrastructure investment benefits everyone, and the money generated by the easement agreement will go to fund critical investment for North Dakota’s children throughout the state.


IUB Meeting Yields No Results, Frustration Mounts

 

Yesterday, the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) further delayed issuing a construction permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline after convening for several hours to discuss the matter.

“The board’s lawyers told regulators Monday that Dakota Access, a unit of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, is in substantial compliance with most of the conditions,” noted the Des Moines Register’s Bill Petroski in an article following yesterday’s meeting.

Eric Schmidt, a member of LiUNA’s Des Moines-based Local 177 described a growing sense of frustration within the labor community that the project continues to be held up by state regulators despite being approved last month. “This is something [laborers] have been looking forward to for over a year now. We thought after the decision came last month that the construction would be getting underway right now,” said Schmidt.

MAIN Coalition Chairman Ed Wiederstein has also weighed into the discussion, highlighting the consequences of a delayed construction timeline in a letter to the IUB last week. Wiederstein echoed concerns expressed by Schmidt, and also expressed concerns that further delays could hurt the state’s farming community.

Besides denying Iowans employment, any delay unnecessarily imposed by the Board will have the added consequence of impacting the state’s farmers. It is the stated intention of Dakota Access to construct the pipeline within one growing season and to commence land conservation efforts upon its conclusion. To delay the project will mean that construction will span multiple growing seasons, inconveniencing the majority of landowners who have signed voluntary easements and are eager to start the project.

The IUB unanimously approved the Dakota Access Pipeline in early March, agreeing that the project serves the public interest and benefit. It is important to all Iowans that construction of the pipeline take place in a manner that is least disruptive, but doing so requires action now–not further delays.






IUB Delay Tactics Threaten to Disrupt Agricultural Cycle

A recent letter to the editor published in the Cedar Rapids Gazette highlighted a sense of growing concern over a decision by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) not to grant a full construction permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline. “I am concerned by the news that the Iowa Utilities Board has made a decision to not grant a full construction permit yet, but instead an order that is reliant upon more bureaucracy, more permitting and more time,” wrote Cedar Rapids resident Troy Henle. “These extraneous conditions only serve to delay the project, which is ready to start moving forward to help minimize the impact to the surrounding communities.”

Furthermore, Henle says, “The conditions, many of which read as a laundry list of tit for tat, mean a later construction start which could push Dakota Access work later into the season, disrupting the flow of a normal agricultural cycle. We need to have the earth removal phase completed before frost and this type of delay will only push us closer to that date.”

Henle concludes by emphasizing the need for clear and transparent action, not further delays. “I urge the Iowa Utilities Board, for the sake of Iowa’s farmers, to grant a full construction permit so that we can get back to the business of farming, and move on from the political wrangling that was Dakota Access’ approval process,” he said.


Wiederstein to IUB: Delaying Dakota Access Pipeline Permit Hurts Iowans

Last week, MAIN Coalition Chairman Ed Wiederstein wrote to the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to stress the importance of the Dakota Access Pipeline and how further delays directly impact Iowans across the state.

Iowa Utilities Board
1375 E. Court Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0069

March 30, 2016

Chair Geri Huser and the Board Members of the Iowa Utilities Board:

I write to you today regarding the status of the Dakota Access Pipeline permit (Docket No. HLP-2014-0001). The Dakota Access Pipeline, which will be a vital link in our nation’s energy infrastructure, is being unfairly delayed, contradicting the decision of your Board to award the permit to this project. As Chairman of the Midwest Alliance for Energy Infrastructure Now (MAIN), I would like to highlight the concerns of the members of my coalition in light of recent events.

As the Board Members stated before awarding the permit to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline, this project does indeed pass the fundamental test of Public Convenience and Need (PCN). We have supported this position both in front of the Iowa Utilities Board as well in the forum of public opinion.

The Dakota Access Pipeline will benefit both the local workforce of our state, as well as many of its small businesses, from hotels and restaurants to ice vendors. It stands to reason that if the IUB members have ruled that the project does benefit the state, it would be in the best interest of the public that this project gets underway within a reasonable timeframe.

Besides denying Iowans employment, any delay unnecessarily imposed by the Board will have the added consequence of impacting the state’s farmers. It is the stated intention of Dakota Access to construct the pipeline within one growing season and to commence land conservation efforts upon its conclusion. To delay the project will mean that construction will span multiple growing seasons, inconveniencing the majority of landowners who have signed voluntary easements and are eager to start the project.

We urge the Iowa Utilities Board to refrain from unnecessary delays of this vital project and allow construction to move forward within a reasonable timeframe. The labor, agricultural, and business members of our Coalition are in agreement with the Board of the PCN that this project brings, and we urge that the Board stand with the thousands of Iowa’s laborers and the majority of landowners who agree that the Dakota Access Pipeline should be constructed on schedule.

Sincerely,

Ed Wiederstein
Audubon, Iowa
Chair, Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN)






Pipeline Brings Business to Keokuk

With the Iowa Utilities Board’s recent approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline, preparations are already underway that are already leading to benefits for many of Iowa’s communities.

A recent article in the Daily Gate City states that Lee County’s Keokuk has seen an uptick in demand for rooms and property rentals thanks to the pipeline, according to Kirk Brandenberger, executive director of the Keokuk Convention and Tourism Bureau:

“A representative from the pipeline said they would need housing for 800 people for one year starting in mid-May,” Brandenberger said. “Campgrounds, hotels and all kinds of private housing.

Small business owners in the have been the chief recipients of the increased demand:

Hickory Haven Campground owner Ron Ginsberg has 50 camper slots and they’re all taken.

“I wish I had 100 more,” he said. “I’ve been getting calls for two years, now. They bring in their families. They travel to their jobs. That’s what they do.”

Ginsberg said workers get $70 per diem to use on housing and food.

It is estimated that the Dakota Access Pipeline will bring almost 800 workers into the Tri-State area, at least half of whom will be recruited from local union halls.

Read the original article here.


Dakota Access Gathering Land-Protecting Materials in South Dakota

As Dakota Access officials stated several times, landowner protection is one of the top concerns as the construction of the pipeline is set to begin later this year. One of the measures designed to protect valuable farmland is the use of mats, or long wooden beams, which are laid on the ground prior to construction to prevent damage to the land below from heavy construction machinery.

The Huron Plainsman reported that shipments of mats have been arriving outside of Huron recently:

Semi trucks bringing the mats to Huron — one of three operational bases being established in South Dakota — are being kept off residential streets. Instead, they are directed to the stockpile site via the west truck route.

It is keeping the trucks with their heavy loads off residential roads so they are not torn up.

When all of the mats are here, their number will be in the range of 12,000 to 15,000.

The Plainsman also reported that between 500 and 600 jobs will be created in the Huron area during the construction period.

Read the full article here.


Pipeline Connecting With Dakota Access Approved in North Dakota

Yesterday, North Dakota’s Public Service Commission approved two pipelines, one of which would connect with the Dakota Access Pipeline, in a move seeking to increase the efficiency of moving Bakken oil. The Wild Basin to Johnsons Corner Pipeline will be approximately 19 miles long, and would deliver 50,000 to 75,000 barrels of crude oil each day for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

PSC Chairman Julie Fedorchak commented on the importance of the new pipeline, saying, “it isn’t very long, but it does provide a good additional resource for transporting this oil and eliminating trucks on the road.”

Commissioner Randy Christmann saw the pipeline project as a sign of commitment to the region, despite the tough economic situation:

“Despite the talk that we hear about the slowdown, and it’s real, it’s not a bust, either. These two cases show that the oil and gas industry is here in North Dakota for the long term. They’re still looking at it as being a long-term positive, and they’re investing substantial amounts of money to make sure they can handle and move their product continually safer and more efficiently.”

The PSC unanimously approved the Dakota Access Pipeline last year, which is projected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2016.