Des Moines, Iowa — The chair of the Iowa Utilities Board announced on Thursday, February 11th, that they have scheduled at least three more meetings to discuss the request for a construction permit for the Bakken oil pipeline. The pipeline is to cut diagonally across Iowa from the northwest to the southeast. In our area it would go through portions of Lyon, Sioux, and O’Brien Counties.
The meetings announcement ended speculation the three-member board would make a decision on the issue following Thursday’s meeting. Board members continued discussion on several issues that will help them determine if they will approve the permit. Board member Libby Jacobs of West Des Moines says the safety of the pipeline is one of the critical issues that has come up in the discussion.
Jacobs says they need to look at the severity of the safety issues with each.
Board member Nick Wagner of Marion talked about the rail accidents.
Wagner says the route of the pipeline may make it safer.
Board Chair, Geri Huser of Altoona, says the method of shipping is not her biggest issue.
Huser says there’s evidence that pipeline accidents could have a bigger impact.
Huser says she is more concerned overall by how the spills will be handled. Huser says having looked at the information on the various types of accidents, the decision comes down to how the board views the safety factors that have been put in place to protect against an accident.
The three discussed many other issues during the meeting. The board will hold another meeting on February 19th and Huser says they have also reserved March 9th and 10th for additional days of deliberation.