Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Utilities Board on Wednesday asked their attorney to draw up an order that will allow Dakota Access to begin construction on the Bakken oil pipeline in areas not under the jurisdiction of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps is still working on the approvals for the pipeline to cross waterways and sensitive areas under their jurisdiction. The board’s request came after a discussion of how the action might impact the March 10th order that gave approval for a construction permit. Attorney David Lynch told the board Dakota Access wants to begin construction only in areas where they have the proper permits and authorization.
Board member Nick Wagner says they have already given approval for Dakota Access to remove trees in the areas where they have approval and this is similar. Attorney Lynch told the board that all but three of the 65 permits for the areas under the Corps jurisdiction are expected to be completed by June 16th, so there would not be a big gap in the time allowing construction to start and when the permits were issued.
You may recall that, last week, the project hit a roadblock with the Iowa State Archaeologist, after a Native American tribe contacted that office to tell them about a potentially “culturally-significant” site in the project’s path through Lyon County. State Archaeologist John Doershuk says his office is trying to determine the significance of the site. He says that he and his staff and the tribe that identified the site location have confirmed the reported site is within a portion of the Big Sioux Wildlife Management Area in Lyon County, in the path of the pipeline project. He says the site is managed by the Iowa DNR. But the US Fish and Wildlife Service has jurisdiction over the area. The section of the pipeline that would run through the area is one of those for which the US Army Corps of Engineers has to issue a permit.