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Trump’s Pipeline Executive Order and the Iowa Impact

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- "Dakota Access Pipeline. Again, subject to terms and conditions to be negotiated by us," said President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

His executive order quickly had a rippling effect in Iowa.

"Water is life, protect it! Water is life, protect it!" chanted dozens of pipeline protestors, who quickly took to downtown Des Moines to voice their displeasure over the nearly 1,200 mile route that would transport crude oil through 18 Iowa counties.

It's a line that is already finished in the state, according to Chad Carter, the International Union of Operating Engineers 234 Vice President. "Here in Iowa the pipe is in the ground, back filled," he said. "There is about 20 miles of top soil that needs to be put back when we get back to work this spring."

Protestors are hoping an order by the Army Corp of Engineers to look for possible alternative routes in North Dakota would give them more time, but even if it did stall progress up north, work in Iowa will press on.

"Once the winter season is finished we can go back to work no matter what is going on in North Dakota," said Carter.

As President Trump expedited work on the pipeline, he gave it high praise.  "We will build our own pipeline. We will build our own pipes. That's what it has to do with. Like we use to in the old days," he said.

Not all Union workers are buying into what some call a new-found love for American labor.

"Union when he has to and he uses illegal help too. I think he would prefer to get cheaper labor. Always has, and that's a business man," said Brett Lambert, an Operative Plasters and Cement Masons Local Union 21 member.

As chants of "this is what democracy looks like" echoed through downtown to save farmland, Union workers say other farmers actually rolled up their sleeves to contribute.

"We had farmers, when it was close to Boone, we had farmers from Carroll say 'hey I hear you guys are looking for operators. So we put them to work,'" said Carter.

Local Union 234 saw their membership grow by 200-300 members in the last year just because of the work the pipeline offered. It's an increase that Carter says usually takes five years.