Dakota Access Opponents’ Extrajudicial Actions Have Real Safety Implications

Some of the key points throughout the entire review process for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline were “is this pipeline safe,” “will the job site be safe,” and “will those job sites protect the environment?”

These are questions we all had, after all, this is our land, these are our communities. If this work is going to take place, safety is of the utmost concern both during construction and operation. That’s why we had a review process that considered all these questions, and more.

Throughout the review we learned about the intricacies of soil restoration, X-Ray weld scanning technology, remote actuated shutoff valves, 24/7 monitoring, and horizontal directional drilling. These were matters that were carefully explained by the company throughout each of the lengthy review processes both in open testimony and public documents so that each state, through their utility regulatory bodies, and the federal government, through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, could make an informed decision. Only after all had been satisfied was the pipeline deemed safe and approved for construction.

But now that construction has begun, opponents of the project have taken matters into their own hands by committing acts of destruction, trespassing, and refusing compliance with lawful authorities’ orders meant to keep our communities safe.

Rather than pursue lawful action, or accept the fact that this pipeline was indeed thoroughly reviewed and that informed decision makers did their due diligence. These fringe groups have taken to physical action to stop the pipeline on the lawful easements where construction is taking place.

This type of activity endangers local workers, communities, and possibly even the opponents themselves, who do not have the proper training or safety understanding to move on or around the active job sites.

We’ve talked in the past about our disagreements, but the simple fact remains this pipeline was approved many times over.

We urge the opponents of this project to not put themselves in harm’s way and to denounce those who do. It does all of us no good to endanger their own safety and the safety of those working on the pipeline.

Dakota Access Fulfills Commitment To American Manufacturers

The Des Moines Register reported Thursday that Dakota Access has fulfilled a pledge to purchase more than $200 million in American-made heavy equipment necessary to construct the $3.8 billion pipeline.   

“The purchases have been fully executed and include 250 excavators from Caterpillar Inc. and 80 excavators from Deere & Co., as well as equipment from Iowa-based Vermeer Corp., said Dakota Access representative Vicki Granado.”

Earlier this year, officials from Caterpillar, Deere and Vermeer filed letters urging state utility boards and commissions to approve the landmark energy infrastructure project. Now, with the pipeline fully approved, equipment from all three of these industry-leading manufactures can be seen a construction sites all along the four-state route.

American manufacturers are already benefiting immensely now that the Dakota Access Pipeline is under construction. The will continue to see the long-lasting benefits once operational as it will deliver affordable, domestic energy to markets across the nation.

A resurgent manufacturing sector has already shown us how low-cost energy can transform our economy, create jobs, and maintain competitiveness in a global market. Projects like Dakota Access will solidify these gains and ensure the continued ability of business to grow and thrive in the United States.

Dakota Access Approvals Means Continued Benefits

With the decision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to permit the full construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) welcomes the continued benefits of pipeline construction across all four states.

Already we’ve seen the results of thousands of American jobs constructing this important piece of infrastructure especially the increase in sales by local businesses to pipeline workers. All along the route hotels, restaurants, and store sales are booming as a result of a new customer base.

For nearly two years, the MAIN Coalition has brought together supporters from businesses to laborers to farmers. We’ve encouraged the construction of this safe and reliable form of infrastructure for the long term benefits of our region. But in the short term construction progress has been speedy and safe and the benefits are already here for our local economy.

Press Release: MAIN Coalition Applauds U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Decision to Approve Permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline

DES MOINES – The  Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) coalition today applauded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s approval of the final permits necessary to construct the Dakota Access pipeline project in areas under their jurisdiction. Construction has already begun on other segments of the 1,172 mile project, which was approved by the four state regulatory bodies in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois earlier this year.

Members of the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now – a coalition of local businesses, labor unions, and agriculture, and other local economic development interests along the pipeline route – have long advocated for the project’s timely approval given the significant economic, employment, and energy security benefits derived from the project.

 “As a local farmer, I have long supported construction of this project and am pleased that today it becomes a reality,” Chairman of the MAIN Coalition and Iowa farmer Ed Wiederstein said. “It will provide untold benefits to the security of our nation and our economic future. The agriculture industry, in particular, relies on affordable, easy to access energy and the Dakota Access project will provide value for decades to come for the thousands of farmers across our region.”

Bill Gerhard of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades also applauded the Corps’ decision: “Thousands of American workers from labor unions throughout the Midwest are already benefiting from this project, and these final permits will secure their jobs for the entirety of construction. I’m proud of the men and women building this pipeline for adhering to best safety practices during construction and ensuring that the job is done right the first time.”

Mike Ralston, President of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, added his support as well: “The Dakota Access Pipeline has already provided a multitude of benefits for manufacturers throughout the Midwest and will continue to do so long after construction is complete. By sourcing raw materials from American companies Dakota Access has created an enormous market for American suppliers. After construction is finished, the affordable resources delivered by the pipeline will help to further power America’s industry. I’m very pleased to see these final permits approved.”

About the MAIN Coalition

The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) is a partnership of entities from the 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, with members in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois – the states crossed by the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline.


Iowa Utilities Board Remained Fair And Open Through Pipeline Approval Process

Recent allegations by environmental groups including Bold Iowa have called the Iowa Utilities Board process, and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad biased toward pipelines and undemocratic. But the reality is, opponents to this project had equal opportunity to speak at the multiple public meetings and official hearings on the project, as well as the opportunity to intervene from a legal standpoint. And many did!

If the process was so undemocratic and biased, why was every citizen of Iowa allowed the opportunity to participate?

It seems to be just another hissy fit thrown by folks who didn’t get their way, and now want to criticize public servants for doing their jobs. It’s certainly not something the MAIN Coalition wants to stand for. We want to thank our public servants, including all members of the Iowa Utilities Board, for allowing Iowans of all walks of life the opportunity to participate in our government, especially when faced with such an important issue like the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Video: Horizontal Directional Drilling Explained

Anyone closely following the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline has likely heard or read about the use of horizontal directional drilling or HDD. While not an everyday term, HDD technology has arguably transformed many facets of the construction industry since its inception in the early 1900s.

HDD is used to install underground pipe when trenching or excavating is not practical. By using a surface-launched steerable drill bit, construction crews are able to insert pipe deep beneath the surface without disturbing the surrounding landscape. Major infrastructure projects like Dakota Access commonly rely on HDD to cross roads, rivers, and other environmental or culturally sensitive areas. HDD is also frequently used in urban areas for developing subsurface utilities like water and sewer.

Michels Corporation—one of the lead contractors for the Dakota Access Pipeline—has put together an excellent video detailing both the HDD process and its applications.

Iowans Get to Work Building the Dakota Access Pipeline


Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is now well underway in Iowa following a greenlight by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) in June. As a result, more than 3,000 new jobs have now been created in communities across the Hawkeye State, including upwards of 450 Operators from Des Moines-based Local 234. Speaking with ABC affiliate WOI-TV earlier this summer, Local 234 Vice President Chad Carter praised the IUB for their decision, saying it would out many hard-working Iowans to work.

The pipeline, which represents a $1.04 billion capital investment in Iowa alone, is expected to generate almost $50 million in additional sales and income taxes during construction. In addition, local economies and small businesses along the four-state route are already benefiting from a surge in new customers that have come to work on the pipeline. Family-owned Scoopz Ice Cream & Eatery in Linton, ND is witnessing these benefits firsthand with record sales on over 46 gallons of ice cream a week. “We’ve just met a lot of really nice, wonderful people from all over the U.S. and it’s just made our first year a huge success and very fulfilling to be a new business owner,” says Cindy Zotti, Scoopz owner.

All that said, the project is still awaiting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to cross a mere 3.5 percent of the entire route. Despite having almost 500 days to evaluate Dakota Access’s application, the Army Corps continues to drag their feet in a textbook display of Washington bureaucracy. It is time for the them to follow the lead of four state utility boards and approve this critical investment in our local economies and national energy future.

Midwest Region Experiences Economic Boon from Dakota Access

Communities along the Dakota Access Pipeline route are experiencing an uptick in economic activity as construction of the multibillion dollar project shifts into full gear. Local businesses across the region are benefiting from a surge in new customers that have come to work on the landmark infrastructure project. In total, the project is expected to create upwards of 12,000 new jobs and inject more than $156 million in additional sales and income taxes.

Moody’s Investors Service calls Dakota Access Pipeline a “credit positive” for 18 Iowa counties in its latest Weekly Credit Outlook for Public Finance. “Moody’s Investors Service says the Iowa Utilities Board’s recent approval of construction for the $3.8 billion Bakken oil pipeline is “credit positive” for 18 Iowa counties along the four-state pipeline route. Moody’s provides financial research on bonds issued by commercial and government organizations and is considered one of the Big Three credit rating agencies. In its latest Weekly Credit Outlook for Public Finance, Moody’s says the pipeline will generate new and recurring property tax revenues and will temporarily increase sales taxes.” (Source: Des Moines Register, 6/24/16)

Small-town economies in Southern North Dakota enjoy much needed boost from pipeline construction. Grocer Todd Mulske in Linton says he’s having trouble keeping steaks in the cooler and potato chips on the shelf. He owns the Linton Food Center and like everyone in the area, he has been noticing the new people in town: welders, excavators and pipeline workers of all stripes. Many show up in the store at about 5 to 6 p.m., looking for something to throw on the grill for supper and pack in the lunchbox for the next day’s work. “Right now, we’re trying to keep up,” Mulske said. “The store’s been crazy.” (Source: Bismarck Tribune, 6/11/16)

  • Local campgrounds full because of pipeline construction. Tiffany Heer, owner of Bayside Resort, a busy campground, store and restaurant just a few miles south of the pipeline route, said she’s got 55 pipeline workers living in campers there. Heer said she’s kept some spots available for locals who like to camp near the water and she’s putting in 18-hour days to keep up, putting out food until late and out of bed before sunrise to open the store and restaurant. “I like the energy that’s coming with the pipeline. It’s such a nice thing to see happen to our local community,” she said.” (Source: Bismarck Tribune, 6/11/16)
  • Family-owned ice cream store in Emmons County seeing record sales. “We’ve just met a lot of really nice, wonderful people from all over the U.S. and it’s just made our first year a huge success and very fulfilling to be a new business owner.” (Source: KXMC-TV, 6/24/16)

KXNet.com – Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Jacksonville mayor welcomes workers, says pipeline will boost city and county revenues.  “Signs welcoming the workers also have been posted by a variety of businesses, including restaurants, said Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard, who added that the spending should provide at least a short-term revenue boost for the city of 19,500. “There’s signs around town welcoming them to come in,” said Ezard. “There’s definitely going to be an economic impact on the city and the county, at least for a while.”” (Source: State Journal-Register, 6/11/16)

Reaction to IUB Decision Shows Strong Support for Pipeline

A roundup of editorial commentary shows widespread support for the Dakota Access Pipeline following last week’s decision by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to allow work to finally begin.

Writing in the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, MAIN Coalition Chairman Ed Wiederstein thanked the board members who voted in favor of allowing construction to begin on this important infrastructure project. “The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) recently made their decision to approve construction on this important infrastructure project, so that Iowa can receive the economic benefits that our neighbors have experienced for the past two months,” he wrote.

Similarly, a letter to the editor published in the Newton Daily News by IUOE Local 234 member Will Chedester commended board members Libby Jacobs and Nick Wagner for their supportive votes. Their “leadership reflects the kind of energy policy I hope to see more of in Iowa,” Chedester said.

Echoing both Chedester and Wiederstein was Donald Martinache of Monroe, who reiterated the importance of the project in a Des Moines Register opinion piece. “Regardless of politics, the Dakota Access project represents a major energy infrastructure initiative, one that is overdue and necessary to relieve the stress on our railroads and highways,” he said. Adding that, “Construction of this pipeline will send a signal that energy producers are ready to invest in our nation’s energy security and the energy resources essential to keeping our economy dynamic and growing.”

Despite the fact that construction is now underway in all four states, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to be the source of a never-ending bureaucratic logjam. “It is critical that the Corps of Engineers approves these permits as soon as possible. Right now, we are all witness to the grinding gears bureaucracy,” said Wiederstein. According to the most recent IUB meeting the Corps was scheduled to release the final outstanding permits today, June 16th, but whether they hold true to their words remains to be seen.

Local Economies Boosted By Dakota Access Construction

Communities along the Dakota Access Pipeline route are experiencing a flurry of economic activity as construction of the multibillion dollar project kicks into full gear. Local businesses across the region are benefiting from a surge in new customers that have come to work on the pipeline. In total, the project is expected to create upwards of 12,000 new jobs and inject more than $156 million in additional sales and income taxes.

In Emmons County, North Dakota, Grocer Todd Mulske is feeling the full effect off the additional customers as he struggles to keep food on the shelves. “Right now, we’re just trying to keep up,” said Mulske who owns the Linton Food Center. “The store has been crazy.” Mulske’s story was just part of the uplifting story published in the Bismarck Tribune this past weekend.

Across town, local campground owner Tiffany Heer says she’s working 18-hour days just to keep up. “I like the energy that’s coming with the pipeline. It’s such a nice thing to see happen to our local community,” she said.

The story much the same in Illinois where the State Journal-Register reported fully booked RV and lodging and a noticeable uptick in local commerce in the Jacksonville area. Local businesses, including hotels and restaurants have posted signs welcoming the workers and assembled information highlighting their offerings. “There’s signs around town welcoming them to come in,” said Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard. “There’s definitely going to be an economic impact on the city and the county, at least for awhile.”

While construction activities have only just begun, it’s already clear that the Dakota Access project is delivering on its promise to simulate local economies.