The Iowa Department of Natural Resources public meeting on the request for a construction permit for the Baaken oil pipeline, the pipeline that would pass through parts of Lyon, Sioux and O’Brien counties, started out at a fever pitch Wednesday evening. Dakota Access is requesting the permit to allow the pipeline to cross public land in four areas.
Those who wanted to speak out at the meeting became upset when the head of the D-N-R told the audience members who had signed up to speak that they would be taking and recording comments from two people at the same time.
D-N-R director Chuck Gipp explained that they needed to record the comments to be able to transcribe them for use in making the decision. Jonas Nagram led off the comments by standing and shouting out to the audience.
Gipp directed him to sit down and Nagram replied “I don’t need to sit, thank you.” Gipp then instructed the staffer calling out the names of the speakers to move to the next person. That set off another round of chants.
Nagram was then allowed to continue his comments.
Things calmed down after that as the speakers came forward and gave their comments into a recorder. Emily Schettler of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry spoke out in favor of the pipeline.
Richard Hulley of Fairfield is against the pipeline.
J.D. Ramanco spoke out in favor of the pipeline, saying it would create jobs for people like him who are professionals in such work.
Around 140 people gave their comments on the issue. The permit request is to cross the Big Sioux River, the Big Sioux Wildlife Management Area, the Des Moines River and the Mississippi River. The D-N-R will continue taking comments on the permit request through January 5th. A D-N-R spokesman says they will likely not be making a decision on the issue until February.