MAIN Chairman Ed Wiederstein: The public benefits of the Dakota Access Pipeline are numerous and important

MAIN Chairman Ed Wiederstein

Ed Wiederstein, our coalition chairman, wrote an op-ed for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, in which he outlined the various benefits new pipeline infrastructure would bring to Iowa and the Midwest.

One of the common points of misinformation deployed in the debate over energy infrastructure investment is the erroneous idea that a privately operated network does not constitute, or contribute to, a public good. Ed writes that Iowa has a long, almost two centuries long tradition of privately-financed and operated infrastructure, which has served for the benefit of all Iowans. Chairman Wiederstein points out:

To facilitate travel and commerce throughout rural Iowa, the second General Assembly in the late 1840s authorized private companies to build plank roads. The public benefit was so obvious that the General Assembly passed legislation aimed at allowing construction to proceed smoothly (…) Even from the earliest days of our statehood, infrastructure was viewed as a public imperative.

Likewise, around the country and throughout history, one can see examples of privately-funded projects benefiting the public. From railroads, to the electrical grid, and pipeline networks, the public has long been the beneficiaries of these undertakings.

While these benefits are obvious and important, it is sometimes difficult to quantify the impact brought about by projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline. However, as Ed Wiederstein writes, there are very tangible and immediate benefits in terms of job opportunities for Iowans across the state:

Construction jobs up to 4,000 in Iowa will see small towns all along the path benefit from added business. Construction means building something and eventually it gets built and then laborers hopefully move to another construction job. This is a great job for many construction workers that pays very well and utilizes their skills.

Iowa and the Midwest can benefit, both immediately, and over time, from projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline. The public has a need for a steady and predictable supply of fuel to facilitate a growing and dynamic economy. The highly skilled workers living in our state rely on projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline to support their families. As Ed Wiederstein says, the benefits of the project are “numerous and important” and we wholeheartedly support the approval, construction, and operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline.