County landowners host oil pipeline meeting today

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
After sections of aluminum pipe go through a sophisticated bending process when required to fit the terrain and welded together, the welded seams are coated and x-rayed for any deficiencies, and sections as long as a mile in length are then lowered at one time into the nearby trench by backhoes and/or side-load bulldozers. Photo contributed

AURELIA - The initial local meeting of the Cherokee County landowners affected by the proposed Dakota Access oil pipeline will be held at the Aurelia Community Center today at 1:30 p.m.

The landowners will be discussing the pros and cons of the proposed project and will welcome all comments and questions.

Dakota Access Pipeline LLC (DAPL) filed an application with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) on Nov. 6th to construct, operate and maintain their proposed 30-inch diameter Bakken crude oil pipeline project across Iowa, DAPL was then required to hold landowner's informational meetings in all 18 counties that the hazardous liquids pipeline will cross. Meetings were held in the counties in December, including O'Brien, Cherokee, and Buena Vista counties.

Dallas, Texas based Energy Transfer Partners L. P. (ETP), the DAPL parent company, announced their intent in July to develop and build a 1,100 mile, $3.8 billion pipeline to transport Bakken light sweet crude oil from the Williston, ND crude oil production region to the Patoka, IL Petroleum Hub east of St. Louis.

There are 10.86 miles in O'Brien County, and 18.16 miles in Cherokee County. The latest maps show the pipeline crossing the NE corner of Cherokee County and the SW two townships of O'Brien County.

The informational meetings are established by law for the specific purpose of informing the possible affected landowners of their legal rights before the Company can approach them about negotiating easements. The merits will be subject to a formal hearing before the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) after the Company files a petition for a pipeline permit.

The detailed IUB summary is divided into several distinct areas that include: an explanation of the permit application process; how landowners or others with an interest affected by the pipeline can file objections; the easements that need to be negotiated with the landowners for right-of-way to build the project; the possible use of eminent domain; the damages the pipeline company must pay to landowners after the project is built and, finally, how the land must be restored once the project is built. Each county must have an inspector to see that land restoration is carried out properly.

According to DAPL, the economic benefits for Iowa and the broader U. S. economy will realize an investment of just over $1 billion. Along the entire route, 12,000 jobs will be realized with about 4,000 in Iowa. DAPL estimates 40 to 50 permanent jobs along the entire route with 15 for Iowa.

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