DES MOINES, Iowa — Officials have given the green light for construction to begin on the Bakken oil pipeline through Iowa.
The Iowa Utilities Board initially voted in March to approve the pipeline but said all necessary paperwork needed to be turned in before construction could begin.
On Monday, however, the board approved Dakota Access' request to begin even though some areas still don't have approvals.
In a 2-to-1 vote, the Iowa Utilities Board granted Dakota Access' request to get started on pipeline construction. The pipeline will run 346 miles through 18 Iowa counties.
The green light accounts for all land except the 37 miles the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still needs to approve and all areas with pending litigation.
“It’s a long time coming, very pleased,” said Chad Carter, International Union of Operating Engineers.
This is good news for the local Iowa Operating Engineers Union. It says 450 local operators will be able to get to work once all the proper notifications are made.
“There`s still a 14-day written notice to county inspectors and land owners, so hopefully by the 20th we can get to work,” said Huser.
But not everyone is happy about the decision.
“We`re here to say this is a bad idea and more importantly it`s going to have a huge impact on seven watersheds in Iowa,” said Ed Fallon, Director of Bold Iowa.
Several organizations joined at the State Capitol to show their opposition to the pipeline.
Cyndy Coppola says the pipeline would only go through seven acres of her Polk County land, but she's more concerned about the bigger picture.
“We`re worried about a pipeline leak and the damage that will permanently do to the land,” said Coppola.
She’s one of about 100 landowners who's still fighting pipeline construction and say the fight is far from over.
“I’m not happy with it, I don`t think it`s good for Iowa, I don`t think it`s good for the Iowa citizens and I’m especially against eminent domain which we`re fighting,” said Coppola.
“It`s not over, we`re in this for the long haul,” said Fallon.
14-day written notices need to go out to all county inspectors and land owners before digging can begin.
The union members say they'll be working 12-14 hour days, seven days a week to get everything done, with a mechanical completion date set for Oct. 31.