- Associated Press - Friday, March 18, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Texas company is asking utility regulators to expedite a permit to build the so-called Bakken oil pipeline through 18 counties in Iowa.

Last week, the Iowa Utilities Board voted unanimously to approve plans by Dakota Access LLC for a pipeline that would transport up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to Patoka, Illinois, the Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/1Um1pyu ) reported. State officials said they wouldn’t approve a permit until the company met certain conditions, including providing liability insurance of at least $25 million, a revised agricultural impact mitigation plan and modified condemnation easement forms.

Dakota Access, a unit of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, told the board this week that it has fulfilled the requirements it needs to receive a state permit.

“Now that weather conditions would permit construction, and the adjoining states have already issued all necessary authorizations, every day the project is delayed in Iowa has a very real cost that will quickly reach the millions of dollars,” Dakota Access said.

The company asked the board to expedite the permit so it can complete the project within one crop-growing season to minimize the impact on farmers and to maintain confidentiality for all of its liability insurance policies.

The pipeline’s opponents immediately objected to the company’s request. Adam Mason, state policy director for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, called it “an outrageous attempt” to circumvent the law and keep Iowa residents in the dark.

On Thursday, the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club filed documents with Iowa utility regulators to oppose the request for expedited treatment.

“The conditions the board placed on the permit authorization were obviously important and deserve thorough scrutiny” that will take time to analyze, the Sierra Club said.

Ward Lentz, regulatory bureau chief for the Rock Island District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the Corp hasn’t approved permits for the Bakken pipeline project in Iowa and doesn’t have a timeline for doing so. But he noted that much of the 346-mile pipeline route through Iowa doesn’t require the Corps’ approval.

Iowa was the last of four states to grant regulatory approval for the project.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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