Workers prepare for new jobs with Bakken Pipeline

There are certainly going to be some long days, working on the Bakken Pipeline. If the legal hurdles are cleared, work on the project could take about a year to complete. And though these aren’t all permanent jobs, local laborers are ready to roll.

“We didn’t know which way the Iowa Utilities Board was going to go, but we were definitely hopeful that the project was going to be approved and it was,” Richie Schmidt, Organizer for Laborers’ International of North America. “And now, the real work begins.”

The skilled laborers around Central Iowa are now scattered over several job sites, but after the decision from the Iowa Utilities Board to approve a permit for Dakota Access, the pipes that started getting stockpiled in Newton in 2015 will soon be put to good use.

For me it wasn’t a quick ruling. It was a long-awaited, appreciated ruling,” said Chad Carter, Vice President of the local engineering union.

The long wait could end with a major payday for Central Iowans, who’ll work on the pipeline.

“Fossil fuels are here,” said Carter. “Maybe one day they won’t be, but building buildings in downtown Des Moines, we need the fossil fuels.”

Though figures haven’t been finalized with the union workers yet, Dakota Access must make at least half of its hires local.

“Every project’s a little bit different, but we’re hoping it’s about 700 people here in Central Iowa,” said Schmidt.

While many of the jobs are short-term during construction, Schmidt says there will be plenty of long-term work as well.

“A lot of it is maintenance work. I think it’s preemptive,” said Schmidt. “I think that just attests to the safety of transporting, whether it be natural gas or oil.”

And though some groups will try to delay their progress, Schmidt says he’s eager to get started.

“They’re exercising that right and I’d never hold that against them, but at the same time, yeah, we are like I said, anxious to get to work,” said Schmidt. “We don’t want to see this project delayed any more than it already has been.”