MAIN Coalition Chairman Ed Wiederstein sat down with 1550 KIWA-AM radio last week to discuss the Dakota Access Pipeline and what he and fellow coalition members are doing to advocate for its timely construction.
Wiederstein, who signed a joint letter to President Obama on the project last month, said he was pleased with the decision by the Iowa Utilities Board to reject a request for a rehearing on the pipeline permit. “I’m sure it’s just a stalling tactic on the part of the opposition that doesn’t like the pipeline for whatever reason,” Wiederstein said. “Really, let’s get on with it. If it’s going to be built, let’s try to build it in one season. We’re almost to the point now where that might be kind of difficult.”
He went on to discuss the outstanding permit the project is still awaiting from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which has jurisdiction of a mere 3.5 percent of the pipeline’s route. “I hope the Army Corps has some common sense because surely they’ve been looking at this well before this point,” Wiederstein said. “I think they know what they want to do but maybe they for-show have to do something but it really needs to get going.” Utility regulators in all four states – Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota – have already approved the project.
Talking about the benefits of the project, Wiederstein said, “It’s an infrastructure project and in essence, it’s a highway. If we were redoing Interstate 80, that would be a great interruption for a lot of people and this is the same way. It’s just as important as Interstate 80 and instead of transporting cars, we’re transporting fuel.”
We invite you to listen to Wiederstein full interview at kiwaradio.com.
Yesterday, the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) further delayed issuing a construction permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline after convening for several hours to discuss the matter.
“The board’s lawyers told regulators Monday that Dakota Access, a unit of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, is in substantial compliance with most of the conditions,” noted the Des Moines Register’s Bill Petroski in an article following yesterday’s meeting.
Eric Schmidt, a member of LiUNA’s Des Moines-based Local 177 described a growing sense of frustration within the labor community that the project continues to be held up by state regulators despite being approved last month. “This is something [laborers] have been looking forward to for over a year now. We thought after the decision came last month that the construction would be getting underway right now,” said Schmidt.
MAIN Coalition Chairman Ed Wiederstein has also weighed into the discussion, highlighting the consequences of a delayed construction timeline in a letter to the IUB last week. Wiederstein echoed concerns expressed by Schmidt, and also expressed concerns that further delays could hurt the state’s farming community.
Besides denying Iowans employment, any delay unnecessarily imposed by the Board will have the added consequence of impacting the state’s farmers. It is the stated intention of Dakota Access to construct the pipeline within one growing season and to commence land conservation efforts upon its conclusion. To delay the project will mean that construction will span multiple growing seasons, inconveniencing the majority of landowners who have signed voluntary easements and are eager to start the project.
The IUB unanimously approved the Dakota Access Pipeline in early March, agreeing that the project serves the public interest and benefit. It is important to all Iowans that construction of the pipeline take place in a manner that is least disruptive, but doing so requires action now–not further delays.