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The Iowa branch of the Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against the state’s Utilities Board (IUB) and Dakota Access LCC in an effort to block the construction of a pipeline that would connect North Dakota’s energy resources to the southern half of the United States.
Wally Taylor, a lawyer for the nationwide environmental action and lobbying group, filed the petition on May 26th. The case, officially created on Tuesday, says the Bakken pipeline’s approval requires judicial review.
Work on the project is set to begin shortly, according to a report by the local news source Quad-City Times, which cited a draft order by the IUB regarding portions of the soon-to-be-lengthened pipeline that do not fall under federal control.
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The contents of the draft would allow construction to begin only in places in which the company has secured relevant permits and permissions, the report said, pointing out that the specified areas include a “bulk” of the Bakken’s Iowan trail.
The three-member board said the order fulfills the next step in the pipeline construction process, after the entity granted Dakota Access a permit to build it on March 10th and gave the corporation the authorization to use imminent domain to seize farmland for the $3.8 billion project.
“I think following that, we would be in the same realm to say they could begin construction in areas of which they have all necessary approvals, permits and easements,” Nick Wagner, an IUB board member, confirmed.
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Lawyer David Lynch, who represents the board, has been charged with preparing the draft order. It should be ready by the end of the week, he says, after which the IUB could approve or suggest amendments to the document.
The company, a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, says it has acquired the approval of 96 percent of the property owners whose land would host the 1,168-mile pipeline.
The Army Corps of Engineers is one of the last groups that has not officially authorized the company to use its land.
Claims by the Upper Sioux tribe that land set aside for the Illinois-bound pipeline contained a tribal burial ground with human remains prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revoke the permissions it had given Dakota Access to build one segment of the project.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…