A coalition of groups opposed to Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners’ plans to build a 343-mile stretch of a crude oil pipeline across 18 Iowa counties, including Story, has organized a public meeting Saturday afternoon at the City Auditorium.
Scheduled to speak at the event, which will begin at 2 p.m., are Erv Klaas, an Ames environmentalist and member of the local chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and Dave Swenson, an Iowa State University economist who has dismissed ETP’s projections of the economic benefits the pipeline’s construction would bring to Iowa as “probably mostly hooey and hype.”
The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition is made up of groups including 100 Grannies for a Livable Future; 1,000 Friends of Iowa; the local Citizens’ Climate Lobby; the Drake Environmental Action League; Food and Water Watch; Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement; Iowa Interfaith Power and Light; Iowa State University ActivUs; the ISU Sustainable Agriculture Student Association; the Iowa Sierra Club; the Science and Environmental Health Network; and the Women, Food and Agriculture Network.
“We planned this community meeting so that concerned citizens would have a time to talk together about strategies (and) learn more about the pipeline project, and those who are landowners could talk together before (ETP’s) informational meetings here in Story and Boone counties,” said Angie Carter, a WFAN member who helped organize the event.
At the beginning of the month, ETP began holding meetings in the 18 potentially impacted Iowa counties, as required by the Iowa Utilities Board. On Dec. 15, meetings will be held at 1 p.m. in Nevada’s Gates Memorial Auditorium, 825 15th St., and 6 p.m. at Boone’s county fairgrounds, 1601 Industrial Park Road.
The IUB, a three-member board comprised of two Republicans and one Democrat all appointed by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, will ultimately decide whether to greenlight the pipeline’s construction. Branstad himself has not yet taken a stance on what would be called the Dakota Access Pipeline.
According to ETP, the pipeline would initially carry the equivalent of more than 450,000 barrels of oil each day from the Bakken and Three Forks shales in North Dakota through Iowa to a hub in Patoka, Ill. In November, the company released an economic analysis from West Des Moines-based Strategic Economics Group claiming the pipeline would generate more than $1 billion of economic output for Iowa over a two-year construction period and create 7,600 job-years,an estimate of the amount of seasonal work equivalent to one job over a single year.