Landowners want details of proposed Energy Transfer pipeline route through Iowa

September 2014, Vol. 241, No. 9

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa landowners want to see the details of a proposed oil pipeline that would carry crude oil from North Dakota across the state to Illinois.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners has said the 1,100-mile Dakota Access pipeline would likely go through 17 Iowa counties as it crosses from the northwest corner of the state to the southeast corner. The oil’s final destination would be in Patoka, Illinois, about 70 miles east of St. Louis.

Energy Transfer Partners spokeswoman Vicki Granado said the proposed pipeline would meet or exceed all state and federal safety standards.

All of the pipeline crossing Iowa would be buried at least 36 inches deep, and in farmland it will be at least 48 inches deep. River and road crossings will be even deeper.

“We are very experienced and very proud of the safety record that we have,” Granado said.

The company will hold public meetings about the project across Iowa in December. Those hearings will be the first step in obtaining a state permit.

“The route is not final at this time as we are still performing civil surveys and executing environmental studies along the proposed pathway of the pipeline,” she said.

Energy Transfer Partners hopes to have the $3.7 billion pipeline in service by late 2016. It would initially transport up to 320,000 barrels of crude per day with the potential to transport as much as 570,000 barrels.

Landowner Don Kreber agreed to let the company survey some of his farmland in O’Brien County, but he told the Sioux City Journal he still hasn’t learned many details — even after meeting with a company representative.

“They really aren’t specific. They guy who came here with the papers didn’t have a map,” said Kreber, who would be open to allowing the pipeline on his land if the compensation is fair.

Environmentalists oppose the project because they worry about the potential for contamination if there were a pipeline spill. Federal records show that Iowa has avoided significant disasters with pipelines but there have 100 pipeline spills since 2004 that caused nearly $20 million in property damage.

“We are against a pipeline going through our state. Iowa won’t benefit from it, and we will take all of the risks environmentally,” Neila Seaman, director of the Sierra Club in Iowa, told The Des Moines Register.

Farmer Darrell Vande Vegte said he wouldn’t want the pipeline crossing the land he farms near Rock Valley and Doon because of the impact on crops. He said he already has a natural gas line under one of his farms, so production gets disrupted every time repairs are needed.

“It takes several years to get the land leveled properly and fertilized” until it returns to full production, he told the Sioux City Journal.

The Iowa Farm Bureau hasn’t taken a position on the pipeline, but said it wants to hear more details and is urging landowners to closely study any contract they sign.

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