Iowa Utilities Board Has Approved Bakken Pipeline

March 10, 2016 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Iowa Utilities Board voted 3-0 today to grant a hazardous liquid pipeline permit to Dakota Access, LLC under Iowa Code § 479B. The Board determined that the project would “promote the public necessity and convenience” as is required by the law.

Dakota Access filed its petition seeking the permit in January of 2015. They wish to build a 346-mile crude oil pipeline (30 inches in diameter) across Iowa. The pipeline would carry oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to a refining station in Illinois. Iowa was the last impacted state to approve the pipeline.

In today’s order, the Board also vested Dakota Access with eminent domain authority over the parcels in the pipeline’s path for which voluntary easements could not be acquired. In seeking voluntary easements, Dakota Access must offer the holdout landowners the same price, terms, and conditions as they were offered before today’s order.

Before the permit will issue, Dakota Access must file, and the Board must accept the following:

  • A revised Agricultural Impact Mitigation Plan with the additional conditions as described in the order
  • A general liability insurance policy in the amount of at least $25,000,000, to be filed and reviewed each time it is renewed, but at a minimum annually, for the life of the pipeline
  • The unconditional and irrevocable guarantees of the parent companies of Dakota Access for remediation of damages from a leak or spill
  • A timeline showing when, and to whom, the various construction notices will be given in relation to a typical parcel and describing the time frames available for consultation with the landowner and inspector, as described in this order. The timeline should also identify all of the information that will be included with each notification
  • Modified condemnation easement forms
  • A statement accepting the terms and conditions the Board has determined to be just and proper for this permit, as described in the order

The Board’s order can be read here.

A group of farmland owners whose land will be impacted by this pipeline have vowed to appeal this order. This would be the first time that landowners have sought judicial review of Dakota Access’ eminent domain application with respect to farmland.

For background reading on the Dakota Access petition, see this article: Petition Filed Seeking Permit to Build Crude Oil Pipeline Across Iowa.