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Bakken Pipeline to Run Under Sacred Tribal Site

Iowa officials will allow work on a four-state oil pipeline to go forward after the company submitted a plan to avoid disrupting an American Indian burial ground.

Fri July 15, 2016 - Midwest Edition #15
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Iowa officials will allow work on a four-state oil pipeline to go forward after the company submitted a plan to avoid disrupting an American Indian burial ground.
Iowa officials will allow work on a four-state oil pipeline to go forward after the company submitted a plan to avoid disrupting an American Indian burial ground.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa officials will allow work on a four-state oil pipeline to go forward after the company submitted a plan to avoid disrupting an American Indian burial ground.

Department of Natural Resources spokesman Kevin Baskins told The Des Moines Register that Texas-based Dakota Access LLC was given an amendment on its permit to dig at Big Sioux River Wildlife Management Area.

Instead of a trench, the pipeline will be built about 85 ft. (26 m) underground using special boring equipment, Baskins said.

State Archaeologist John Doershuk said the company's plan is satisfactory, but Indigenous Environmental Network organizer Dallas Goldtooth said his group opposes the decision to allow construction to go forward.

Goldtooth said he believes there may be more sites of cultural and historical significance to tribal people that have not been discovered along the route of the pipeline.

“It is disheartening that they have a green light to move ahead, but I feel very confident that there are a number of landowners, tribes and well-informed citizens who will be standing up to make sure that this pipeline does not get built,' Goldtooth said.

The $3.8 billion, 1,150-mi. (1,850 km) pipeline spans four states and will carry crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken oil patch. The Iowa Utilities Board recently voted to permit construction to start on the pipeline in areas where permission had already been approved.

The Iowa section still needs permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for where the pipeline would cross wetlands, streams and other bodies of water. Allen Marshall, spokesman of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Rock Island, Ill., said negotiations with tribal representatives, state historical preservation officials and Dakota Access are ongoing for Iowa's section of the pipeline.

Carolyn Raffensperger of Ames, an environmental lawyer and executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, which opposes the pipeline, said she believes there has been a needless rush by Dakota Access to construct the pipeline before all permits have been acquired.


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