Hundreds Gather In Support Of Dakota Access Pipeline

dakota access pipelineHundreds of union members gathered outside the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) in Des Moines this morning to show support for the Dakota Access Pipeline. At issue, a handful of opponents threatening a vital infrastructure project already well on its way to completion.

Earlier in the day, Ed Wiederstein, chairman of the MAIN Coalition, said in a statement that he was “dismayed” by continued efforts to derail a project that is already employing thousands of Iowans. “It is completely ludicrous the Dakota Access Pipeline will once again be brought to the Iowa Utilities Board for review,” he said. “Opponents of Dakota Access want to keep changing the rules after a decision has been made.”

“It is completely selfish of these individuals to threaten an entire workforce with termination solely because they want to throw a wrench in the regulatory system,” said Bill Gerhard, president of the Iowa State Building and Constructions Trade Council. “Construction should be allowed to take place, as it was before, because the letter of the law was followed and this project was approved by the State of Iowa.”

Inside, the lawyers for Dakota Access asked the commissioners to reject a motion that would halt construction on 17 tracts of land, saying that landowners have already had numerous opportunities to voice concerns and that the IUB already made their decision in March. Attorneys also added that nearly 22 percent of the pipeline in Iowa was already built. The board adjourned at 1 p.m. following several hours of debate and gave no indication when it would vote other than it meet again Friday afternoon.

Desperate attempts like this to undermine the regulatory process and hinder the construction of valuable infrastructure are in nobody’s best interest. The Dakota Access Pipeline has sought and received all of the required state and federal regulatory approvals and is now well on its way to being operational.

Dakota Access Supporters Rally In Front of IUB

Members of the MAIN Coalition along with members of craft trade unions rallied in front of the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) today to express their support for the project ahead of an emergency hearing.

The supporters have come together to protest the unnecessary additional review of the project which has already been fully approved and permitted by four state regulatory bodies, including the IUB, and the federal government.

The MAIN Coalition’s Chairman, Ed Wiederstein, stated the following:

The MAIN Coalition is dismayed the opponents of this project are once again trying to stop a lawfully approved project that is already employing thousands of Iowans, and will bring benefits to our state for years to come. It is completely ludicrous the Dakota Access Pipeline will once again be brought to the Iowa Utilities Board for review.
This project was reviewed under the laws of the State of Iowa for the better part of a year and a half. The IUB should stand by their decision earlier this year and allow for the full authority and construction of the project. 
Opponents of Dakota Access want to keep changing the rules after a decision has been made. This sends a terrible signal to any business or industry wanting to build or relocate to Iowa; what business would invest tens of millions of dollars in jobs and infrastructure only to have regulators have a change of mind a year later?
Iowans of our state deserve well-paying jobs, safe energy infrastructure, and the opportunity for a significant investment in our future. The Dakota Access Pipeline should remain approved and construction should continue.

Bill Gerhard, President of the Iowa State Building and Constructions Trade Council, issued the following statement: 

The last ditch efforts by opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline threatens to kill the jobs of thousands of Iowans. It is completely selfish of these individuals to threaten an entire workforce with termination solely because they want to throw a wrench in the regulatory system. Construction should be allowed to take place, as it was before, because the letter of the law was followed and this project was approved by the State of Iowa. The rest of Iowa gets it and wants to move forward.

Mike Ralston, President of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, stated the following:  

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry is disappointed this matter is once again being brought before the Iowa Utilities Board. This project has already been approved – the Dakota Access Pipeline should proceed with construction as it was lawfully permitted to do months ago. These final efforts of opponents to this project are a sad attempt to once again to take people out of work and deny the people of this state affordable energy.  

Dakota Access Review Exemplifies Thorough Energy Permitting Process

It’s safe to say the Dakota Access Pipeline has received one of the most thorough reviews of a domestic infrastructure project in recent memory. For many of us this project has been a long time coming, but even just this weekend, despite all permitting decisions completed, opponents of the project are still attempting to halt its progress because according to their message, nobody was listening.

But the facts show this just isn’t true. Everyone had a fair opportunity to present their interests and multiple jurisdictions approved this project independently of one another.

Don’t believe us? Let’s take a look at the numbers:

  • 3 North Dakota Public Services Commission Hearings
  • 4 South Dakota Public Utility Board Meetings
  • 18 Iowa IUB Meetings in each county along the pipeline route
  • Nearly a month of official testimony in front of the Iowa Utilities Board
  • Nearly a year and a half of review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

And that doesn’t even take into account the thousands of comments and letters sent in to each jurisdiction throughout a nearly two year process. So if two years of time in front of public servants from four states and the federal government isn’t enough time to make a case then it’s hard to imagine any scenario where opponents of Dakota Access would be satisfied.

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.

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.

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.

Iowa Utilities Board Clears Way Dakota Access Pipeline Construction


On Monday, the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) cleared the way for construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline to begin in Iowa. “The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now fervently believes that it is in the best interest of the people of Iowa that this pipeline begin construction as soon as possible on all lands under jurisdiction of the Iowa Utilities Board,” said MAIN Coalition Chairman Ed Wiederstein following the decision. “We hope that a favorable decision by the Corps of Engineers will follow and that construction can soon take place on the entirety of the route.”

Speaking with local ABC affiliate WOI, Chad Carter, vice president of Operating Engineers Local 234 praised the decision by regulators to allow the project to move forward. “This has been a long time coming and we are very pleased,” he said, noting that the project will put over 900 people to work in Iowa, including upwards of 450 from Local 234.

To date, construction on the project has already begun in Illinois, North Dakota, and South Dakota where local communities and economies are already feeling the positive impact of critical investment. In fact, Jacksonville, IL-based 1180 WLDS-AM reported over the weekend that business was booming in the western part of the state as local hotel and lodging establishments work to accommodate the infulx of construction workers. “It [Dakota Access] offers employment, with our lodging facilities being more full, that offers more employment opportunities in the area. Whether that’s indirect or direct, that’s more business coming into the Jacksonville area,” said Brittany Henry, executive director of the Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In granting permission to begin construction, the IUB has unlocked thousands of new jobs for hardworking Iowans and provided the agricultural community a timeline limited to one growing season. Soon, stories of thriving local economies will not just be a distant news article, but a reality for communities across Iowa. As a coalition, we applaud the IUB for making the right decision and look forward to seeing the many benefits of this project come to fruition in the Hawkeye State.

Iowa Utilities Board Allows Dakota Access To Proceed

Today, the Iowa Utilities Board met in order to allow the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline to go forward.

The Board previously approved a state construction permit for the project back in March, but had not yet issued a decision for construction to proceed. This was a result of the continued delay of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permits that govern some of the water crossings along the pipeline route. Those permits remain outstanding, and the areas under Corps jurisdiction will not be addressed by the IUB order to begin construction.

Board members Libby Jacobs and Nick Wagner said they believed that by allowing work to commence on the route would be in compliance with the March order which granted the state permit for the project. Authorizing construction “would seem to be the next logical step,” Jacobs said.

The order is expected later this week and will be signed by the board.

Iowa Among Last to Benefit from Dakota Access Construction


Construction has begun on the Dakota Access Pipeline bringing both employment opportunities and economic benefits to North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois. However, Iowa still does not have any construction activity underway despite approval of the project by the Iowa Utilities Board.

The Iowa Utilities Board declined to act earlier this week on a request from Dakota Access to begin construction on Iowa land not under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Now with the other states beginning construction it’s time for Iowa to do the same. The approval of the Corps of Engineers is important but it should not delay construction on lands that are under the jurisdiction of the Board, which has already approved the project.

Iowa workers need these jobs, and Iowa farmers are on a timetable to ensure that construction takes place during one growing season. We urge the Iowa Utilities Board to grant permission for construction immediately.

IUB Meets On Pipeline Status

At today’s Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) meeting the Board Members received an update on the progress of permitting for the Dakota Access Pipeline. What remains for the Board to decide is whether or not construction can begin in areas that are under Board jurisdiction even if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not issued a permit for their areas of jurisdiction.

According to coverage in the Des Moines Register, “The state board didn’t set a date to make a decision, but it could meet as soon as Friday to issue an order to approve or deny the Dakota Access request.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still conducting reviews for federal permits on waterway crossings along the 346-miles of the pipeline route that runs through Iowa, but the federal permit areas only account for 2.5 percent of the entire Iowa portion of the route.

It’s imperative that the Board makes this decision to allow construction to begin where the corps does not have jurisdiction, as they already ruled that the project would move forward in Iowa. As we continue to move later into the calendar year, we risk construction delays that could push construction up against the winter season and the first frost. That would make separation of soil much more difficult, a key point of contention during the review process. We urge the IUB to allow Dakota Access to begin construction on private lands so that this pipeline project will not adversely affect our agricultural communities for an extended period of time.