To the editor:
I retired as trails coordinator from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources after 30 years of public service. I have worked across the state with the Army Corps of Engineers, Native American people and many other government organizations.
During this time I managed millions of dollars for trail development on state land. I also represented the people of Iowa on state and federal trail grant committees awarding multi-millions of dollars.
If the DNR wanted to build a new hiking trail — a foot trail, not a concrete bicycle trail, just a trail in the woods — if we even wanted to move an existing trail 12 feet to one side or the other in order to reduce erosion, we would be required to go through more scrutiny than the Bakken pipeline will receive.
To build the trail would require an official agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Transportation, many Native American tribes, the State Historical Preservation Office and would have to meet various other federal government requirements related to the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Endangered Species Act, Sovereign Lands Construction Permit and Floodplain permits.
As of February 2015, many of the permits for this pipeline had not even been applied for. Trail projects required environmental review, and it rarely happened sooner than three years after starting the paperwork permitting process.
How can a hiking trail project less than a 100 feet in length take longer and receive more oversight than this hazardous 1,134 mile long pipeline?
Mark Edwards, Boone