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Report Shows Pipelines Helping Reduce Bakken Oil Train Traffic

As the Iowa Utilities Board continues its review of the merits of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a new in-depth look at the state of crude by rail (CBR) shipments has been published by E&E News. The conclusion undeniably shows that pipelines are, in fact, providing a viable alternative to shipping crude oil on our nation’s railroads.

These findings reflect the assertions made by proponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline. With Iowa being crisscrossed by as many as 30 oil trains a week at the height of the Bakken energy boom, the Dakota Access project would provide a safer and less energy intensive solution to ensuring that American energy reach consumers. While opponents have argued to the contrary, it has become abundantly clear that the facts point towards pipelines contributing to decreased oil train traffic.

It was only this past November that pipelines eclipsed rail volumes in North Dakota for the first time since 2012, in part because it simply makes more sense to ship energy through pipelines. “That’s just how the economics work. If you can get on a pipeline, you would want to,” the article quotes one energy expert as saying.

As the Iowa Utilities Board Members take a look at the Dakota Access Pipeline application over the next few days, we encourage them to study the project’s potential to helping reduce rail traffic in the state. With Iowa’s farmers depending on rail to get their products to market, it is vital that energy shipments be given a safe, reliable, and superior alternative.

Read the whole report here.


Dakota Access Named as Contributor to American Manufacturing

Even though the Dakota Access Pipeline has not yet broken ground, the $3.7 billion investment is already bolstering American manufacturing through the milling and assembly of the thousands of pipe segments necessary to construct the 1,134-mile system. Numerous specialized steel mills across the country have seen substantial orders for the highly sophisticated segments necessary to construct this state of the art system. Other manufacturing plants have been busy constructing thousands of valves, bolts, gauges, and other equipment necessary to guarantee a safe and efficient way to deliver regionally extracted energy to consumers.

As a voice of American manufacturers across all industries, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has long recognized the economic benefits that such investments create. In a recent post released on the Shopfloor Blog, NAM stated:

Manufacturing creates opportunity and growth, and we see that with the construction and long-term operation of new pipeline infrastructure. To compete in the global market, manufacturers depend on access to affordable energy. Investing in pipeline infrastructure today will ensure the benefits of reliable energy for America’s manufacturing sector for generations to come.

The Dakota Access Pipeline was named as one of the projects helping create new opportunity and growth:

North Dakota is the epicenter of the new American oil boom, but despite growing production levels, the region still lacks adequate pipeline capacity to meet new market dynamics. The Dakota Access Pipeline project aims to solve this problem by offering transport these valuable resources.

With three of the four state utility agencies along the route having already granted approval for the project, the MAIN Coalition looks forward to Dakota Access bringing the same economic benefits enjoyed by manufacturers to the hardworking men and women across the Midwest and their families.

Read the full blog post here.


Letter: Pipelines Below Ground Make Lives Above Better

“What’s under your feet, and how does it help your life above-ground?” That is the question posed by an LTE published yesterday by the Sioux City Journal. The author, Mark Albenesius, is perhaps one of the most qualified people to answer that question, having managed water systems for many years.

Just like water systems help sustain life as we know it, Mr. Albensius contends that the Dakota Access Pipeline does the same for the Midwestern region as a whole, and Siouxland in particular. In addition, he identifies other advantages:

Not only will this pipeline be a safer alternative to above-ground transportation methods, such as trains or trucks, but it will create thousands of jobs for local skilled laborers. The utility boards of North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois have taken a look at this project and approved the routes in their states. It’s time that the Iowa Utilities Board do the same.

Click here to read more.


Progress made on Dakota Access Easements – Project passes 85% mark

As the Iowa Utilities Board continues to review the application for the Dakota Access Pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners recently announced that 85% of the easements necessary to construct the project have been signed. In a press release the company stated:

The Dakota Access Pipeline Project continues to finalize its construction plans and secure the necessary land easements in preparation to begin construction of the 1,168-mile crude oil pipeline. The permit approved last week by the North Dakota Public Service Commission brings the total to three of the four states crossed by the pipeline authorizing it to move forward.  The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and the Illinois Commerce Commission have also approved Dakota Access’ permit applications. The Iowa Utilities Board continues to review Dakota Access’ application having announced a working session scheduled for early February. Construction of the pipeline is projected to begin in 2016 upon approval of all required applications and permits.

Dakota Access has signed voluntary easement agreements with landowners representing more than 85 percent of the properties along the four-state route.  Currently, 89 percent of the properties in North Dakota, 92 percent in South Dakota, 78 percent in Iowa and 87 percent in Illinois have been signed. Project representatives will continue easement negotiations with landowners during the coming months.

Once work is cleared to start, the Dakota Access Pipeline can be operational by the fourth quarter of 2017. Between 8,000 and 12,000 union workers are expected to be employed on the project.

Read the entire press release here.


ICYMI – Argus Leader Column: Pipeline Fuels Overall Economic Growth

The idea that infrastructure investment benefits not only the people working on specific construction projects, but the economy at large is widely accepted. Energy infrastructure projects are no different. The National Association of Manufacturers commissioned a study which found that crude oil pipelines contributed $31.4 billion to the country’s GDP and that more than 66 different manufacturing subsectors, benefited from the construction of crude oil pipelines by $10 million or more in 2015.

As a multi-billion dollar investment, the Dakota Access Pipeline would create similar benefits for the Midwest region. In a recent column in the Argus Leader, Operating Engineers member Will Thomssen summed up the correlation between the economic effects of past pipeline projects, and DAPL’s potential impact on the region:

The NAM study also showed that crude oil pipelines created over 276,000 jobs thanks to their construction and operation. At the same time, projects like Dakota Access will serve as job creators in our state with 2,000-4,000 well-paying jobs here in South Dakota. In addition, the parts and materials needed to support the project will largely come from America’s manufacturers, ensuring that the pipeline fuels economic growth well outside of the energy industry itself.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has been approved by the utility boards of three of the four states along the route. The pipeline is expected to be functional in the fourth quarter of 2016, if approved.


MAIN Coalition Members Gather in Des Moines to Support Pipeline Project, Energy Independence

Members of the MAIN Coalition gathered this morning to express their support for the Dakota Access Pipeline and to spread awareness of the importance of a modern energy infrastructure. The event came a few days after the announcement of an IUB public meeting to discuss the pipeline permit application for the state, and a day after the North Dakota PSC announced their approval of their piece of the project. The utility agencies of South Dakota and Illinois had previously decided to approve their parts of the route. The men and women assembled at the State Capitol emphasized the benefits that the project would bring to the state’s economy and infrastructure.

Representative Ralph Watts of Iowa House District 19 expressed his support for the rally, saying, “as a state that is in the national spotlight, we need to enhance our competitiveness by embracing the Dakota Access project. Iowa’s farmers and businesses, as well as our national economy, benefit from a safe, efficient, inexpensive, and reliable source of fuel and petroleum products that pipelines can help deliver to market. By supporting projects like Dakota Access we can help alleviate our congested roads and railways thereby using those networks to effectively deliver our state’s commodities to market. Our nation, and Iowa, need investments in pipeline infrastructure to boost long-term economic growth.”

Labor leader Bill Gerhard of the Iowa State Building & Construction Trades Council, also present at the demonstration stated his support for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. “In addition to generating millions of dollars in tax revenue and economic growth for our state, the pipeline project would create employment with benefits and job security for thousands of hard-working, skilled Iowa workers. I believe the commitment to use union labor sourced from local halls in each state helps guarantee that the project will be built to ensure safety and protect the environment. LiUNA takes energy infrastructure construction seriously and workers must have prior experience on similar projects and undergo comprehensive training to qualify for work on pipelines.” The pipeline project is slated to create between 2,000- 4,000 jobs during its construction.

“The Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) affirms its long standing support for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and stands with businesses, manufacturers and union leaders who understand that vital energy infrastructure projects are essential to our state’s future prosperity and the well-being of Iowa’s working families,” Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry said in a statement. “With more than 2 million miles of energy pipelines already in place in the United States, it should be clear to all that the Dakota Access Pipeline is a necessary and welcome addition that would bolster our energy security over the long run.”

Ed Wiederstein, Chairman of the MAIN Coalition, issued the Coalition’s statement, saying, “to compete in the 21st century economy, Iowa needs new energy infrastructure. We can either build more pipelines or more railroad tracks and roads.  Pipelines are the safest, most cost-effective, and most environmentally friendly option. The MAIN Coalition is fully in support of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline to benefit Iowa’s long term energy needs.”


PSC Dakota Access Decision a “Sign of Hope”

Influential North Dakota blog site Say Anything Blog published an article regarding yesterday’s vote to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline, calling the project “a sign of hope.” The blog asserts:

As important as the Keystone XL pipeline was, and still is, to North Dakota’s energy infrastructure needs the Dakota Access pipeline is even more so. While the Keystone line originates in Canada, the Dakota Access line would start in North Dakota near Stanley (…) Meaning this project isn’t about oil production anywhere but in North Dakota.

The investment in the regional energy infrastructure is going full steam ahead despite the tough economic conditions that have set in recently for the state’s energy industry. Foreign nations have kept their oil production at uneconomical levels in order to force the United States to abandon its march towards energy independence. Despite that, the Dakota Access Pipeline is going ahead, confident in the region’s ability to persevere through the storm and to be a driver of America’s economy.

Read the full text of the article here.


North Dakota Stakeholders React to Dakota Access Pipeline Approval

In a major step to modernize the Bakken region’s energy infrastructure, the North Dakota Public Service Commission voted unanimously to approve the permit for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Stakeholders across the state, including business and landowners, reacted positively to the Commission’s announcement.

Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council stated that “the North Dakota Petroleum Council applauds the decision of the Public Service Commission to approve the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This is a critical piece of infrastructure that will allow safe, efficient and consistent movement of Bakken oil to key markets along the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico, helping diversify the supply of domestic oil to displace foreign oil.”

Scott Meske, president of the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce applauded the decision and emphasized the positive effect the project will have on the city’s economy. “Energy infrastructure investment is crucial for our state to continue to grow its economy and the Dakota Access Pipeline is an investment that will be felt in Williston, and throughout North Dakota and the Upper Midwest,” Meske said.

Roger Kaseman, a landowner living in Emmons County, commended the Public Service Commission for their thorough review.  “I believe in a strong domestic energy sector, and am confident that the Dakota Access Pipeline will help keep Bakken oil competitive. Investments such as the Dakota Access Pipeline create the jobs, revenues, and opportunities that are so essential to maintain the prosperity and economic progress that we have achieved in our state over the last decade,” Kaseman stated.

“The MAIN Coalition is pleased to hear that the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved the permit application for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline,” commented coalition Chairman Ed Wiederstein. “The MAIN Coalition appreciates the attention given to this critical investment and thank all of our allies for their unwavering commitment. Pipelines are the safest, most efficient way of transporting our energy resources and their further expansion is essential to America’s success for generations to come.”


North Dakota Public Service Commission Gives Green Light to Dakota Access Pipeline

Today, the North Dakota Public Service Commission approved the permit application for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The decision to approve the project marks a significant step forward in completing this critical energy infrastructure investment.

Once constructed, the Dakota Access Pipeline will provide a safe, efficient means for transporting energy resources to markets across the Midwest and the nation. North Dakotans will benefit from a reliable supply of affordable, domestic energy that will undoubtedly contribute to substantial savings for generations to come.

For years America has relied on oil imported from conflict-ridden areas of the world that often challenge American values. The unprecedented growth of the Bakken has played a key role in easing our dependence on foreign oil, but we need the necessary infrastructure to fully realize the benefit of this important resource.

The approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline permit application in North Dakota allows us to benefit from the safety and security of proven pipeline technology and the valuable resources it will carry.


North Dakotans Call on PSC to Approve Dakota Access Pipeline

Residents in North Dakota are calling on the state Public Services Commission (PSC) to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline. In a letter to the editor published in the Dickinson Press, author Evan Whiteford emphasizes the fact that falling oil prices by no means lessen the need for energy infrastructure in our region.

“Despite the fact that prices currently are down, we still see interest in investing in our state’s energy infrastructure. One example is the Dakota Access Pipeline that will connect the Bakken oilfields with production facilities in Illinois. Investors still want to build this multibillion-dollar project, and our state needs to take quick action to approve it,” Whiteford says.

Furthermore, the sooner this project is approved, the sooner we can put thousands of people to work and begin realizing the countless economic benefits this project will deliver. Approval by the PSC means “means putting 2,000 to 4,000 people to work in North Dakota,” according to Whiteford, adding that, “These will be good union jobs that will contribute to our tax base, schools, shops and communities.”

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and the Illinois Commerce Commission approved the project last December.