IUB Delays Ruling of Early Pipeline Construction

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Utilities Board held a meeting Wednesday to discuss Dakota Access' request to move forward with construction along some parts of the Bakken oil pipeline route.

The pipeline would run 346 miles through 18 Iowa counties.

Last month, Dakota Access asked the Iowa Utilities Board to grant it access to go ahead and start building the pipeline in approved areas, but once again, the board decided to hold off on an officially ruling.

Two of the three board members said they felt comfortable granting Dakota Access on all the areas approved, which would be everything except the 37-mile stretch the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still considering, as well as three parcels currently under litigation including historical ground now being linked to Sioux Indians.

Board members Nick Wagner and Libby Jacobs both agreed they were OK moving forward, but Chairwoman Geri Huser wanted to wait to make sure an order made in March wasn't being modified by granting Dakota Access' Request.

Local Operating Engineers Union Vice President Chad Carter says waiting is hurting its members.

“That’s what they do for a living, they chase pipeline around all over the country and they’re not going to wait much longer. We need to get them to work here in Iowa,” he said.

It estimates around 400 engineers would be hired from local unions plus hundreds of sub-contractors.

“Hopefully, it starts next week where we don’t lose our members to other states,” Carter said.

He is referring to the other three states that already began construction on the pipeline: North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois.

The Iowa Utilities Board ended the meeting hoping to make an "official" ruling on Dakota Access' request by the end of the week.

Carter says if it gets the green light, he hopes to have Iowa union workers on the job by next week.