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Iowa Uses Refined Petroleum Products for the Benefit of America

During the examination of witnesses at today’s session of the IUB public hearing, it was mentioned that Iowa occupies a rather unique position when it comes to energy consumption.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Iowa ranks very high in its consumption of energy per capita. In 2013, it was the 5th most energy-intensive state in the nation.

This is not surprising, since Iowa has several energy-intensive industries within its borders. Agriculture, food production, and food processing requires a vast amount of refined petroleum products in order to keep machinery running, and to make sure that Americans can enjoy the important foods they love. Likewise, Iowa’s manufacturing industry, which has proven invaluable to the American economy, uses a significant amount of fuel.

Given that Iowa does not produce any of its own petroleum, all of this energy comes from outside of the state. Investments such as Dakota Access will lower the cost of transporting this valuable resource to refineries, where it is turned into diesel fuel, gasoline, and other products which are necessary to power Iowa’s biggest industries.


Supporters Come Out to Say “Yes” to Dakota Access

Yesterday over a hundred supporters gathered in Boone to voice their approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline during a public comment period in front of the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB). Representatives from businesses, trade associations, labor groups and the agriculture community delivered a unified message of support for the $3.9 billion project that will deliver a flood of short and long-term economic benefits. “This project is an economic must for the consumers of America,” said Tom McCune, business manager for Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Union 25. McCune went on to emphasize that, “We build things to the highest standards and by the safest means possible.”

Ross Walsh, a veteran and current apprentice with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 234 encouraged the IUB to grant the construction permit for the project saying, “The Dakota Access project offers the chance for not just myself, but for thousands of highly skilled workers to build their careers in the construction trade.”

“A reliable domestic energy source is a better alternative than importing products form regions in the world filled with conflict and hostile intentions toward the U.S.,” Walsh said. “The Dakota Access project benefits the local and state economy. When I am working on a project I spend my money at local restaurants, convenience stores, sometimes staying at local hotels. And I also pay Iowa taxes. That revenue supports other jobs and local economies.”

The valuable dialogue at the hearing further affirmed that the Dakota Access Pipeline is an opportunity that Iowa can’t afford to forgo. We strongly encourage the IUB to take note of this overwhelming support and grant the necessary permits.


“Temporary” Jobs Make Lifelong Careers

As we listened to the speakers at the IUB public hearing yesterday, we noted that some members of the opposition pointed out that the jobs created by the Dakota Access Pipeline project were not permanent, and therefore, Iowa workers would not benefit from these jobs. Many of the very people who specialize in, and have made a career out of these so-called temporary projects, have pushed back on that notion and offered their perspective.

George Koetters, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, pointed out in his recently published letter to The Des Moines Register, that he has worked over 40 years on various projects, and has made a good living by doing so, as have thousands of Iowans and Midwesterners.  Thanks to the efforts and hard work of men and women like Mr. Koetters, we have the infrastructure we need to keep our country moving in the right direction.

Many members of the trades industry voiced the same opinion at the hearing yesterday, including Ross Walsh, a resident of Winterset, who said:

I’m a veteran and I’m also an apprentice with the operating engineers out of Local 234. I support the Dakota Access project for a variety of reasons and encourage the utility board to grant a construction permit for the project. The Dakota Access project offers the chance for not just myself, but for thousands of highly skilled workers to build their careers in the construction trade.

The IUB hearings made it clear that the construction jobs generated by investments such as the Dakota Access Pipeline are seen as an incredible opportunity by the craftsmen and women of the region. As the Governor Terry Branstad has pointed out, Iowa needs more opportunity in the skilled trades. We believe that the project will stand on its merits and we encourage the IUB to approve the project in a timely decision.


MAIN Coalition Gathers in Boone to Support the Dakota Access Pipeline

Rally Shows Support for the Dakota Access Pipeline During the Iowa Utilities Board Public Hearing

BOONE, IOWA – Members of the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) coalition gathered today in Boone, Iowa to show support for the Dakota Access Pipeline during the public commenting day in front of the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB). This day marks the beginning of formal hearings organized by the IUB to consider Dakota Access’s application for approval to construct the planned crude oil pipeline from the Bakken region of North Dakota to Illinois. The MAIN coalition stressed that the $3.9 billion project will bring tremendous economic benefits to the state in both the short and long terms.

The proposed pipeline represents a more than $1 billion capital investment into Iowa during construction and through operation, with an estimated $27 million in property taxes during the first year of operation in 2017. The pipeline also supports our nation’s growing energy infrastructure, creating jobs all across the country and reducing our country’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.

“Our nation’s energy infrastructure is in need of an investment like the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline,” said Ed Wiederstein, chairman of the MAIN coalition and former president of the Iowa Farm Bureau. “Pipelines are needed to support our country’s growing energy independence, this pipeline will benefit local communities, our state, and our country.”

Members of Iowa’s Building and Construction Trades Council also gathered to show how the project will benefit local communities and the thousands of construction workers and their families. “This project is about more than simply jobs,” said Dan Prymek of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. “Our families and communities will see the direct economic benefit created by this project. With more than 2,000 construction workers supporting local communities, we urge the Iowa Utilities Board to support this project.”

“These types of projects need to be carefully considered by the Iowa Utilities Board,” urged Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. “We need a healthy, respectful, and fact-based discussion of this project. I am confident the IUB will recognize the benefit Iowans will see from the construction and operation of this pipeline. Our state relies on a growing business community to drive our economy. This project will be another great addition to our state.”

About MAIN: The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) is a partnership of entities from agriculture, business, and labor sectors aimed at supporting the economic development and energy security benefits associated with infrastructure projects in the Midwest. MAIN is a project of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council and boasts nearly 50 members across four states. Visit us online at www.MWAllianceNow.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 


MAIN Coalition Members Rally for the Dakota Access Pipeline

On the first day of the Iowa Utilities Board public hearing to review the application of the Dakota Access Pipeline, members of the MAIN Coalition gathered in the Boone County Fairgrounds to demonstrate their support for the project and the emphasize the benefits that the $3.9 billion investment will bring for the state of Iowa.

“Our nation’s energy infrastructure is in need of an investment like the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline,” said Ed Wiederstein, chairman of the MAIN coalition and former president of the Iowa Farm Bureau.

“Pipelines are needed to support our country’s growing energy independence, this pipeline will benefit local communities, our state, and our country.”

Members of the business, agriculture, and labor communities have united together to support of the project, citing the 2,000- 4,000 jobs the project would create for the duration of construction, the economic stimulus that the project would provide for Midwestern equipment manufacturing companies, and the reduction in oil shipped by rail.

“These types of projects need to be carefully considered by the Iowa Utilities Board,” urged Mike Ralston, president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.

“We need a healthy, respectful, and fact-based discussion of this project. I am confident the IUB will recognize the benefit Iowans will see from the construction and operation of this pipeline. Our state relies on a growing business community to drive our economy. This project will be another great addition to our state.”

The IUB hearing is slated to start today and end on December 4th

Click here for a copy of the press release.


Boone County Residents: Dakota Access Pipeline a Benefit to County and State

Jason Copple and Dan Prymek, two residents of Boone County, recently wrote a letter to The Des Moines Register explaining the benefits of the Dakota Access Pipeline for the state and for county. With regards to employment opportunities, they wrote:

As proud members of labor unions, we can state with certainty that this project will provide employment for thousands of hardworking Iowans. Many of these are people who previously held a different job, but were let go and they took advantage of opportunities to retrain in order to earn an honest living. Many of these folks are your neighbors and friends.

Copple and Prymek also highlighted the revenue that the project would generate:

Our work on this project will provide an approximate $50 million in revenue for the state, as well an estimated $27 million in property taxes in the first year alone. This revenue will benefit us all as Iowans. Through the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, transport of regionally produced oil will be made safer and our freight network will be more efficient while still being allowed to grow.

Read the entire letter here.


MAIN Coalition Submits its Letters of Support to Regulatory Agencies Overseeing Dakota Access Approval

Letter Highlights Economic and Safety Benefits of the Dakota Access Pipeline for the Upper Midwest

DES MOINES– As the regulatory agencies of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois proceed with their reviews of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the MAIN Coalition has submitted a letter on behalf of its members outlining the numerous benefits the project would bring to the respective states and the region.

In a letter addressed to the four regulatory agencies responsible with conducting the exhaustive review process, Chairman Ed Wiederstein urged commissioners to look at the existing body of evidence with regards to pipelines and consider the economic benefits of the project:

This project will provide our local economies a much needed positive boost. The construction alone will create thousands of jobs for American workers who will spend money and support local services during construction. Counties along the route will also receive ongoing property tax revenue for schools, services, and infrastructure creating a vibrant local economy. (…) Everyone from the local banker all the way down to the smallest mom-and-pop shop is impacted when real money is injected into the economy.

Wiederstein also touched upon the benefits the project would bring to the region’s farmers by easing the demand for crude-by-rail (CBR) shipments:

American agriculture is highly dependent on petroleum development. The simple fact is that the less oil we process domestically, the more we will have to import from foreign countries. That drives up energy prices for farmers who need gasoline and diesel for the majority of their farm equipment. Those costs, which impact a farmer’s bottom line, are then passed along to the consumer and cause higher food prices both here in the Midwest and in cities throughout the country. The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now believes that pipelines are an answer to climbing energy prices, as well as the transport issues that plague the agricultural sector as a result of oil trains.

According to a recent American Farm Bureau Federation study, the region’s farmers suffered more than half a billion dollars in losses in 2014 as a result of congestion of the region’s railway network.

“The MAIN Coalition brings together a wide spectrum of industries and stakeholders who believe that this project will benefit not only our members and employees, but the entire Midwest,” commented Ed Wiederstein, MAIN Chairman and past president of the Iowa Farm Bureau.  “We support a vigorous review process of the facts and are confident that the commissioners reviewing the applications will eschew hollow rhetoric, and allow the process to arrive at the decision that helps support the region’s economy and nation’s energy security.”

Click here to read the letter.

About MAIN: The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) is a partnership of entities from agriculture, business, and labor sectors aimed at supporting the economic development and energy security benefits associated with infrastructure projects in the Midwest. MAIN is a project of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council and boasts nearly 50 members across four states. Visit us online at www.MWAllianceNow.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 


Cherokee County Court Upholds Proper Legal Process, Dismisses Lawsuit Against the IUB

A judge in the District Court in Cherokee dismissed a case against the IUB, explaining that the plaintiffs in the case had not availed themselves of all of the remedies available to them before filing a lawsuit against the Iowa Utilities Board.

The suit was filed in July and challenged whether or not the IUB had authority to render a decision on the application to construct the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. The IUB and Dakota Access filed a motion to dismiss the suit in August.

Judge Carl J. Petersen explained his decision to dismiss the case in his written opinion:

As all of Petitioners’ potential wrongs are provided for in the relevant statute, intended for review by IUB, and are subject to application for judicial review following IUB’s decision, the wrongs are adequately addressed through the administrative process.

The MAIN Coalition applauds the decision to dismiss the case, which not only sought to undermine the legitimacy of the Iowa Utilities Board, but also tried to delay the agency’s decision on the application of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. We believe that the lawful process was upheld as a result of this decision, which is critical to ensuring that Iowa’s business climate remains stable, predictable, and open to the investments the state needs to grow.

Read the entire story here.


Iowa Governor: Apprenticeships and Skilled Labor Crucial to Iowa’s future

Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds have announced an initiative to boost skilled labor workers in Iowa through a blueprint called the Future Ready Iowa plan.

According to reports, the plan “aims to increase the number of Iowans with two-year and four-year degrees, as well as apprenticeships and other certifications.”

Energy infrastructure projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline will be built using thousands of Iowa craftsmen. The men and women responsible for the project’s construction are highly trained, having acquired skills through endless hours on the job and training sessions held by various union groups. If increasing the number of apprenticeships and skilled labor jobs is to be a reality for Iowa than approval of large-scale energy infrastructure projects like Dakota Access must be a part of the greater plan.

Read more about this story from The Des Moines Register here.


Unpredictable Revenue Forecasts Highlights Importance of Infrastructure Investment

The Iowa Revenue Estimating Conference, a three member board tasked with determining how much money the state can foresee coming into the state treasury, has announced yesterday that general fund revenue estimates have shrunk for the current year. The causes of the revenue drop are numerous, as The Des Moines Register explains:

While many revenue concerns cited by the panel related to a drop in farm income, experts said a host of other factors — including worries about the global economy, uncertainty regarding Iowa’s manufacturing sector and a loss of state sales taxes on goods purchased on the Internet — were also considerations in their estimates.

 While the revised estimates don’t necessitate spending cuts at the moment, they do serve to highlight the need for diversification of the way that states like Iowa earn revenue. The agricultural sector, which has forced the revision, will always be a significant part of the revenue stream, but Iowa should also consider the impact that expanded energy infrastructure can bring.

The Dakota Access Pipeline, a project estimated to generate about $50 million during construction will net the state around $27 million. Additionally, Dakota Access recently reported that over $200 million has been set aside to purchase construction equipment from Vermeer and John Deere, two Iowa-based businesses. Projects like these can not only make energy transportation safer and more cost effective, but can be revenue drivers as well.

Read more about this story from The Des Moines Register here.