LARCHWOOD, Iowa | The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has signed off on the final permits standing in the way of the Dakota Access interstate crude oil pipeline.
With the permits already approved earlier this year by the Iowa Utilities Board and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the approval by the Corps means the controversial Bakken pipeline is greenlit in Iowa.
The corp has jurisdiction over federal lands and water crossings, including the Big Sioux and Mississippi rivers. The pipeline will enter Iowa from South Dakota by crossing the Big Sioux in Lyon County.
The project will place 346 miles of pipeline through 18 Iowa counties, including four others in Northwest Iowa -- Sioux, O'Brien, Cherokee and Buena Vista.
“There are no issues in Iowa, all of Iowa is done,” said Ward Lenz, regulatory branch chief for the Corps Rock Island District.
Ward said the Corps will spot check certain portions of the pipeline as construction takes place to ensure that wetland mitigation and permit conditions are met.
Lisa Dillinger, a spokeswoman for pipeline developer Dakota Access, a division of Energy Transfer Partners, said in a Tuesday email that approval of the remaining 63 Corps permits allows work on the pipeline to begin across the state. Approval had already been given for the majority of the project.
“Yesterday we received the Nationwide Permit 12 from the Army Corps of Engineers for all four states. We can now move forward with construction in all areas as quickly as possible in order to limit construction activities to one growing season and be in service by the end of this year,” Dillinger said in the email.
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The Corps’ Monday approval has been met with a mix of criticism and praise from various Iowa groups.
“Today’s decision from the Army Corps isn’t a surprise,” Cherie Mortice, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) Board President, said in a Tuesday news release. “It has been ‘business as usual’ for Iowa and federal regulators — putting corporate interests ahead of the common good and our land.”
Iowa CCI and Bold Iowa plan to continue to build a team of Iowans to engage in non-violent civil disobedience to delay and halt pipeline construction, the release states.
“We remain steadfast that oil will not follow through this pipeline. We’ll continue to fight tooth and nail — this is not a done deal,” Adam Mason, State Policy Director at Iowa CCI said in the release. “We need to leave this oil in the ground and turn the corner to true renewable energies like wind and solar that will create good jobs, protect our environment, and build our communities.”
Meanwhile, the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN) coalition applauded the approval of permits for the $3.8 billion, 1,168 mile four state pipeline.
“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 Ed Wiederstein said in a Tuesday news release. “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.”
Iowa was the last of four states to approve the pipeline, which already had a green light from North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois.