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.

Pipeline Reduces Odds of Oil Train Derailment


The buildout of safe, efficient pipeline infrastructure is redefining how our nation’s domestic energy resources are delivered to critical markets across the nation. A recent article published in the Ottumwa Courier highlighted a growing concern we are all too familiar with – concerns with the safety of oil trains. From the devastating 2013 tank car explosion in Quebec to last month’s oil train derailment in Oregon, it is clear that shipping crude oil resources by rail can be concerning. As noted by the Courier, Iowa is far from immune to these risks with millions of barrels of oil transiting the state’s railways ever year.

Not surprisingly, crude-by-rail shipments top Ottumwa Assistant Fire Chief Mike Craff’s list of concerns involving rail transportation. In an interview with the Courier, Craff, who is also the vice president of the Iowa State Hazmat Task Force, said cleaning up a derailment involving crude would a mess. “If one of those catches on fire we pretty much have to let it burn out,” he said.

Adding to concerns is an April 2016 report by the Iowa Department of Transportation that found a state-wide lack of preparedness for a derailment involving crude oil or ethanol.

In Iowa, the Dakota Access Pipeline will transport over 450,000 barrels of oil per day or nearly half of the Bakken’s current production. The pipeline will significantly reduce crude-by-rail traffic in our region, meaning the odds of a derailment involving oil are also drastically cut.

Claims Pipeline Will Reduce Property Values Are Unsupported

A recent letter to the editor published in the Des Moines Register, argues that the Dakota Access Pipeline would “drastically reduce property values.” Not surprisingly, the author of this piece makes no effort to employ any actual data to support this groundless claim (hint: likely because it does not exist). The fact of the matter is that it only takes a quick Google search to reveal a fair amount of research capable of easily disproving this claim.

In fact, a study commissioned by the non-partisan Pipeline Safety Trust and published in the Journal of Real Estate Literature found that, “there is no systematic evidence, based on actual sales data, that proximity to pipelines reduces property values.” Adding to that, a report, “Pipeline Impact to Property Value and Property Insurability,” prepared on behalf of the INGAA Foundation concludes that the presence of pipelines does not affect a property’s insurability, desirability, or the ability to obtain a mortgage.

Furthermore, the author writes that a landowner could be held responsible for any damage caused by the pipeline, despite the fact that Dakota Access has explicitly stated that they are 100% liable.

Sure, it may be fun to lob baseless claims around in the interest of promoting own agenda, but the facts speak for themselves, and in this case, tell a very different story

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) – 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)

DNR Decision Shows Dakota Access ‘Unanticipated Discoveries’ Plan Works


Iowa state officials have lifted a temporary stop-work order that had been issued for the Sioux River Wildlife Management Area following a discovery of previously undocumented cultural artifacts. According to the Des Moines Register, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) granted Dakota Access an amendment to its permit after the company proposed to boring underneath the protected area. “The bottom line is that they will go around the area by going underneath it,” said DNR spokesperson Kevin Baskins.

In an email sent last week to DNR Director Chuck Gipp and obtained by the Register, State Archaeologist John Doershuk also expressed satisfaction with the revised plan to avoid the sensitive areas.

State Archaeologist John Doershuk said in an email last week to DNR Director Chuck Gipp that the proposed directional boring construction method is a satisfactory avoidance procedure from an archaeological standpoint that he supports in this case.

The discovery of the archaeological site and subsequent review that has occurred over the past few weeks illustrates that the Unanticipated Discoveries Plan prepared by Dakota Access is an effective framework both in theory and application.

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.