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A Focus on Safety: The Role of Smart Pigs

Now that the Dakota Access Pipeline project has been given the green light across all four states along its route, voluntary conservation measures can begin, and construction is expected to follow soon after. As was shared at the deliberation hearings in Iowa, the pipeline will have numerous safety measures in place to maintain its integrity. One of the technologies that will be used on the pipeline is the smart pig.

Smart pigs are sophisticated instruments sent through pipelines to monitor the state of the pipeline and to clean its interior. “Pigging”, as it is called sometimes, eliminates the need to flush pipelines and helps gather thousands of data points to help identify any potential for problems.

Having evolved from simple wire brush units, smart pigs have turned into sophisticated instruments that gather vital information, and are just one of the many tools that modern pipelines are inspected with to assure safety and reliability.

Labor Leader: Let’s Start Building Dakota Access

After the unanimous decision of the Iowa Utilities Board to approve the application of the Dakota Access Pipeline, labor member Ryan Hollinrake, an outspoken advocate of the project’s benefits for Iowa’s skilled trade members, took to the pages of The Des Moines Register and Newton Daily News to encourage a quick start to the project:

Now that the Iowa Utilities Board has approved the Dakota Access pipeline’s 343-mile segment across the state, let’s hope this environmentally sound and economically valuable project can get started without further delay. The IUB deserves credit for its thorough research on the pipeline and the extensive efforts it made to give Iowans a chance to voice their opinions.

Despite some loud and well- organized protest groups, it’s pretty clear that a majority of Iowans support this project. That includes 80 percent of the landowners whose property will be crossed by the underground pipeline. Iowans tend to be practical people and most of us recognize that the DAPL is a multi-billion dollar investment in vital infrastructure that will provide vital public benefits that is financed with private funds.

The nation needs to expand its energy transport network and Iowa can certainly benefit from the $1 billion investment being made in our state. Additionally, the $27 million in property taxes will certainly help our state provide necessary services for communities along the route. It appears, that once again, the people have indeed spoken.

It is estimated that between 2,000 and 4,000 workers will be assembling the Iowa portion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners has agreed to source at least half of the workers from local union halls.

MAIN Coalition Chairman on WNAX: IUB Pipeline Approval the “Right Decision”

Following the unanimous decision of the Iowa Utilities Board to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline, MAIN Coalition Chairman appeared on Yankton, SD-based radio station WNAX to comment on the decision:

The leader of the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now says the Iowa Utilities Board made the proper decision approving the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline. Ed Wiederstein says the approval was based on the fact Energy Transfer Partners was able to get easements from enough farmers to move ahead following the regulatory process.

He says the project is a win-win for the landowners, the state and the company and it lessens the dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Wiederstein says opponents to the project have their work cut out for them should they challenge the Board decision in court.

Ed Wiederstein has been actively leading the MAIN Coalition in advocating for increased energy infrastructure spending, speaking for MAIN’s labor, agricultural, and manufacturing members.

Hear clips of the interview here.

Iowa DNR Approves Permit for Dakota Access Pipeline

Shortly after the Iowa Utilities Board unanimously approved the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources issued its own permit, authorizing the pipeline to cross publicly-owned land in the state. The press release from DNR stated:

A permit from the DNR would allow Dakota Access to construct the pipe line across the Big Sioux River Complex Wildlife Management Area in Lyon County as well as borings for the pipeline under the Big Sioux River in Lyon County, the Des Moines River in Boone County and the Mississippi River in Lee County.

“We have thoroughly reviewed this application and do not find any long-term negative impact to the environment or natural resources,” said DNR Director Chuck Gipp.(…)

“Iowa has thousands of miles of pipeline underground including many that are under public property. This request and the subsequent permit we would be issuing is not precedent setting,” said Gipp.

In fact, if constructed, the pipeline across the Sioux River Complex Wildlife Management Area would parallel an existing natural gas line.

The DNR approval is a further step in enhancing the Midwest’s energy infrastructure and represents a $1.04 billion capital investment into Iowa’s economy.

Labor, Business Leaders Welcome Decision on Dakota Access

Labor and business leaders across the Midwest cheered the decision by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline. Iowa, the fourth and final state to approve the project, joins Illinois, North Dakota, and South Dakota in a mission to develop energy infrastructure capable of meeting the demands of the 21st Century.

The $3.7 billion project will create 8,000 to 12,000 local jobs during construction and translate into millions in state and local revenues. Economies all along the route will feel a direct impact from increased use local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and other essential services.

Chad Carter, vice president and business agent for Des Moines-International Union of Operating Engineers Local 234 attended yesterday’s hearing and applauded the approval. “I’m very, very pleased with the board’s decision. I think they made the right choice Iowans, for the taxpayers of Iowa,” Carter said.

A chorus of local leaders were quick to echo Carter, noting the numerous benefits the pipeline will bring to Iowa, the region, and the nation. “This is fantastic and certainly a big step in getting Bakken barrels to quality markets and further displacing foreign barrels,” said Ron Ness, President of the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

In a statement, Dwight Baldwin, president of the Iowa State Grange commended the Board’s decision, stressing the importance of American energy to Iowa’s farmers. “Dakota Access represents an opportunity for Iowa to benefit from American energy that will help lower farmers’ costs throughout our state,” said Baldwin

From a resurgent manufacturing industry to lower gas prices, it is safe to say that the domestic energy boom is redefining America’s future. Investing in critical infrastructure projects like Dakota Access now will ensure the benefits of reliable, affordable energy are realized for generations to come.

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

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

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

I want to thank the Iowa Utilities Board for its careful and thorough review of the Dakota Access Pipeline project.  This decision is a victory for Iowa, which will gain through the Dakota Access Pipeline much-needed access to a safe, reliable supply of domestic energy that will fuel our state, region and country.  There is no safer, more cost-effective way to improve our energy supply than to build pipeline infrastructure. I look forward to watching Iowa draw upon its many benefits for years to come and thank the IUB for the careful deliberation and thoughtful decision.

Bill Gerhard, President of the Iowa State Building and Constructions Trade Council, said the following after hearing of the IUB’s announcement: 

The Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council commends the Iowa Utilities Board for their approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Board carefully considered the public’s input, the merits of the project, and the thousands of Iowans who will benefit from its construction. Their decision supports the long- and short-term needs of both Iowa’s workers and our national security as we find paths to utilize American energy resources in the safest, most efficient way.  

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 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 Approves Dakota Access Pipeline

The Iowa Utility Board’s decision to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline is a crucial step in the right direction towards fulfilling the goal of constructing an energy infrastructure for the 21st century.

Not only will the Dakota Access Pipeline provide thousands of Iowa’s skilled men and women with a paycheck, the project will generate millions of dollars in revenue for the state during construction and after it becomes operational. While the American energy revolution may have created challenges for our region and our state’s rail infrastructure, projects like Dakota Access can help invest in our state and overcome these challenges with state-of-the-art energy infrastructure needed to move these products safely to market.

With the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Iowans can expect to see revenue flowing into the state coffers for vital community investments, and allow thousands of Iowans can get to work.

Thank you to the Iowa Utilities Board for your important review and understanding of how to move our state forward.

Iowans Criticize Out of State Activist

Iowa recently hosted a guest from Oregon, Paul Cienfuegos, who advocated for a community rights movement, urging local municipalities to ignore state law and set their own policy towards energy infrastructure projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline. The visit generated criticism from many Iowans, including Ames resident Randy Page, who wrote the following in a letter to the Ames Tribune:

First, Mr. Cienfuegos’ grasp of the Iowa Constitution seems to be a bit tenuous at best. The community ordinances he proposed to block the Dakota Access Pipeline are not only unconstitutional, but will also block proposals that Mr. Cienfuegos and his hosts might actually support. The sword, as they say, cuts both ways on this issue.

Second, the litigation costs of these irresponsible actions proposed by the panel would be borne by Iowa’s taxpayers. Payments to support litigation over illegal measures are not how I want my tax dollars spent.

Mr. Page also noted that the Iowa Utilities Board was designated by a democratically elected legislature to decide on matters such as the Dakota Access Pipeline, and urged that all sides respect the rule of law on this issue.

The Iowa Utilities Board is projected to issue a ruling on the Dakota Access Pipeline at their public deliberation session tomorrow.

Click here to read Mr. Page’s full remarks.

More Iowans Found To Support Dakota Access Pipeline Than Oppose It

In a recent poll by The Des Moines Register, a plurality of Iowans were found to support construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Register’s poll found that 47% of Iowans are in support of the Dakota Access Pipeline, while 40% are against it and 14% noted they were unsure.

Supporters of the project highlight the economic benefits of the project and a desire for U.S. energy security. Those in support also cite the fact that Iowa already has thousands of miles of pipelines that transport petroleum based products safely every day.

Among supporters quoted for the article, Bill Gerhard, president of the Iowa State Building & Construction Trades Council, noted he’s been around pipeline projects his entire career and thinks the Dakota Access Pipeline project will create good, well-paying jobs for Iowa’s construction union workers.

The Iowa Utilities Board will meet on March 9th and 10th  on whether to grant a state permit for construction.

Pipelines Create Jobs Both On And Off The Job Site

Last week, the Mesabi Daily News in Minnesota published an article which highlighted the opportunities created for union workers by pipeline projects like Dakota Access. The thousands of miles of pipe to be laid, and tight construction schedule constrained by Midwestern Winters, require thousands of workers to turn out to ensure the pipe gets into the ground on schedule.

But the jobs benefits of pipelines aren’t just during the construction stage. There is an entire operation behind procuring the materials for the pipeline, including the physical pipe itself, transportation of materials, heavy machinery and equipment, all down to the last nut and bolt.

Those economic benefits reach far beyond the pipeline and pipe yard, and are putting thousands of Midwesterners to work throughout the supply chain even before the pipe is put into the ground. The economic benefits of pipelines like Dakota Access begin long before oil even begins to flow.