Attacks against oil infrastructure are all too common in areas like the Niger Delta of Nigeria or Iraq’s northern Kurdish region. But authorities in the United States believe unknown assailants deliberately targeted a pipeline under construction in central Iowa.
According to the Insurance Journal, around US$1 million in equipment at three building sites of the Dakota Access pipeline including heavy machinery were damaged in a series of fires.
The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office reported that they were alerted to the first blaze on 1 August at approximately 6:00 AM at a farm field 4.5 miles west of the town of Newton. Deputies were subsequently informed of a second pipeline equipment blaze about 2.5 miles southeast of Reasnor, followed by a third fire where four machines were damaged north of Oskaloosa.
Dakota Access of Texas, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, issued a statement condemning the suspected arson and pledging to reinforce security along the 1168-mile project.
“Americans burning American-made equipment, which is owned and operated by American companies, employing American union workers, working on a pipeline owned and operated by an American company for transporting crude oil produced in America for American consumers, is a shameful act by a group of people trying to disrupt our country’s energy security and independence… We will not tolerate this kind of activity, which is a safety hazard to all concerned,” said the communiqué from Dakota Access and cited by the Des Moines Register. Related: “Hot Lesbian” Ad Gets Canadian Oil Sands More Publicity Than It Deserves
The planned underground pipeline crosses through Illinois, North Dakota and South Dakota as well as eighteen Iowa counties diagonally from northwest to southeast.
Environmental, Native American and land rights groups have strongly criticized the pipeline project. But activists like Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement state policy director Adam Mason claimed, “our members who are opposed to the pipeline have always pursued nonviolent methods of trying to stop the pipeline”.
“We don’t condone violence and obviously don’t condone this kind of activity,” said Mason to Radio Iowa.
By Erwin Cifuentes for Oilprice.com
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