Lyon County, Iowa — The latest roadblock to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the proposed line that would transport Bakken crude oil from the oil fields of North Dakota to other pipelines in Illinois, passing through parts of Lyon, Sioux and O’Brien counties here in northwest Iowa, didn’t come from environmental protesters, the Iowa Utilities Board, or the court system. This roadblock was erected by the Iowa State Archaeologist’s Office.
About 10 days ago we told you that a Native American tribe had contacted State Archaeologist, John Doershuk, advising him of a potentially “culturally-significant” site, along the Big Sioux River in Lyon County.
Doershuk, along with state and federal officials, and Sioux Tribal leaders, reportedly toured the site this past Friday. In a report filed over the weekend, Doershuk says the site has significant cultural and historical importance for the Upper Sioux Community, and other Sioux peoples. He says, as a result, the Dakota Access Pipeline should avoid the Native American burial site.
At this point, it’s not clear if Dakota Access will have to make changes to the pipeline’s planned route in order to avoid the Lyon County site.
Meanwhile, the Iowa Utilities Board voted 2-1 today (Monday) to approve an order that would allow Dakota Access to begin building the Bakken oil pipeline.
Board members expressed concern last week that allowing construction would impact their March order approving the construction permit. Attorney David Lynch addressed that issue before the vote.
Board member Nick Wagner said he is satisfied with the order.
Board chair Geri Huser raised concerns last week that the move would take away the board’s jurisdiction in the case and today said she wouldn’t support it.
Huser did vote against the order, while Wagner and Libby Jacobs voted for the order. The order will allow Dakota Access to start construction in areas not under control of the U-S Army Corps of Engineers. Lynch told the board last week it is believe the Corps will have most of its permit approvals completed by June 16th.
Despite the IUB approval, the Dakota Pipeline project still needs to deal with the State Archaeologist’s opinion regarding Lyon County lands, not to mention that the Sierra Club of Iowa, last week, promised to seek to derail the project in court.