- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - Supporters and opponents of a proposed oil pipeline that would cut across Iowa heard from officials Monday as they tried to answer questions about the safety of the project.

Hundreds of people showed up for the public meeting in Fort Madison about the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, the Burlington Hawkeye reported (https://bit.ly/YYYiCS ). Several other meetings were scheduled around the state.

Representatives from the Iowa Utilities Board, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Energy Transfer Partners - the lead company - were present to hear some people express concern about the project’s impact on possible property damage and potential water contamination.

“Our drinking water comes from the Mississippi River. What happens when your poison leaks into our drinking water?” asked Matthew Crowe, of Donnellson. “We need to think about what’s happening to our water.”

Officials said contract workers will dig five feet below the Mississippi River bed to set up the pipe. Chuck Frey, vice president of engineering for Energy Transfer Partners, also said landowners will be compensated for any damage to property, livestock and crops.

“We want to be as clear and transparent as possible,” he said.

Others expressed full support for the project and its potential economic impact.

“If it will bring jobs to the area, we need to go through with it,” said Weston Braun, of Danville, a member of the Laborers International Union Local 538.

The $3.78 billion project would stretch from the Bakken formation in North Dakota, to Patoka, Illinois. The 30-inch underground pipeline would transfer crude oil across several Iowa counties under roads, rivers, lakes and streams.

Energy Transfer Partners wants to have the pipeline built and working by the end of 2016.

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Information from: The Hawk Eye, https://www.thehawkeye.com

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