A political organization opposed to an 1,134-mile interstate crude oil pipeline cutting through Iowa is urging a more strict permitting process by the federal agency that regulates waterway crossings.
The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement submitted demands from 600 Iowans to the Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island (Ill.) District last week in response to Texas-based Dakota Access’ request to permit its proposed Bakken pipeline to cross waterways.
“Army Corps refers to their Nationwide permitting process as sufficient for minor projects with minimal impacts,” Kriss Wells, an Iowa CCI member from Le Claire, said in a statement. “The Bakken Pipeline is anything but minor, as it will impact not only Iowa, but farmland and waterways all across the Great Plains and Midwest.”
The group questioned the rigor of the “nationwide” permitting process being used by the Corps “given the scope and threat” of the proposal, and called on the agency to use its “individual” permitting process.
The Corps manages compliance with the Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act.
The nationwide process evaluates the impact on a crossing-by-crossing basis, Donna Jones, regulatory section chief at the Rock Island district, said last week.
“We currently anticipate using a nationwide permit to evaluate this work,” Jones said. “Each waterway will be evaluated on its own.”
Iowa CCI wants a more comprehensive review to account for potentially larger effects to the water system, such as the possibility of pipeline leak running into other waterways through the abundance of farm drainage tiles.
At least three Army Corps districts, Rock Island, St. Louis and Omaha, will need to grant permits for the pipeline. Seventeen crossing initially were identified for review, but as more detailed information was developed, approximately 100 crossings within the Rock Island district alone were identified as needing review by the Corps, Jones said.
The Corps will have 60 days to review and finalize a decision once the Dakota Access submission is complete.
Jones said the Corps review does not include public notice.
Nathan Malachowski, a community organizer with Iowa CCI, said his group is raising awareness about the Army Corps’ role, which he said has been largely hidden to this point.
“We hope this allows for public oversight,” he said. “For them to do this with no public relations is absurd considering what they are doing.”
Iowa CCI wants more stringent oversight, but ultimately wants the permit request denied, Malachowski said.
Separately, the Iowa Utilities Board will begin hearings Nov. 12 to address Dakota Access’ request for a hazardous liquid pipeline permit with a decision expected in December or January. The board also will decide a request to use eminent domain on up to 475 parcels of Iowa land needed for the pipeline.
Dakota Access has said it hopes to begin construction in early 2016 and have the pipeline operations by the end of the year.
The pipeline would pump up to 570,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken and Three Forks region of North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a terminal in Patoka, Ill.
This article was written by B.A. Morelli from The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.