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Pipeline project offers opportunities, controversy

By Staff | Jan 2, 2015

The oil boom in North Dakota has emerged in recent years as one of the Midwest’s most important economic stories.

The Bakken oil fields, in what had for decades been primarily an agricultural state, now have begun to generate large numbers of jobs. These employment opportunities are attracting not only longtime North Dakota residents, but also people from all across America.

The oil industry in North Dakota also has the potential of making a major contribution to the national goal of decreasing America’s dependence on foreign oil suppliers.

Iowans may not have given much thought to how the oil currently is being transported – and in the future might be shipped – to refineries.

In the days just ahead, however, that issue will be debated further in the Hawkeye State.

Energy Transfer Partners, of Dallas, Texas, has proposed building the Dakota Access Pipeline Project through 1,134 miles in four states. The Iowa segment would be 343 miles long. The pipeline would move crude oil from North Dakota through about 31 miles of Calhoun County and 19 miles of Webster County on its way to a distribution hub in Illinois, according to the company planning the project.

In the Fort Dodge region, the pipeline also would cross less than a mile in extreme northeast Sac County.

Construction of the pipeline is projected to cost approximately $3.78 billion and could begin in 2015. It is estimated that about $630 million would be spent in Iowa.

This proposal is generating controversy. Some environmental groups have raised questions about the pipeline’s impact on farm land and waterways. Landowners are also seeking to learn how they might be affected.

Oil pipelines can be among the safest ways to transport oil. Since this pipeline would cross many Iowa counties, it is especially important that Hawkeye State residents make sure the project has been well-conceived and – if approved – meets the highest safety standards.

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