KC McGinnis | December 18, 2015
Iowans were divided Wednesday during a public forum over a proposal that would help establish a pipeline across the state.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources organized the public meeting to gather input from Iowans regarding whether it should grant a permit to Texas-based Dakota Access, LLC to construct an oil pipeline under publicly-owned lands like the Big Sioux River Complex Wildlife Management Area and the Mississippi River. The meeting was contentious and sometimes heated, according to The Gazette.
While some, including union members, argued the pipeline would provide jobs and a safer way to transport oil than by rail, others expressed concern over the pipeline construction’s short-term effects on biodiversity and soil health and long-term effects on water quality and emissions. Science suggests that 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground in order to keep climate change under 2 degrees Celsius, well below the goal of 1.5 degrees agreed upon by world leaders at COP21 last week.
Debate over the Bakken pipeline is likely to continue well into next year, with the Iowa Utilities Board reaching a decision on eminent domain sometime in February and the DNR sometime this winter.