Letter to the editor: Pipeline a further risk to Iowa’s already toxic waters

In March 2015 the Iowa Utilities Board approved construction of the Bakken pipeline, which crosses 18 Iowa counties. Source: Dakota Access LLC

To the editor:

The three Branstad-appointed people on the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) just approved the permit for the private Bakken Pipeline to pass through our state.

This permit gave the private Texas company the right to take unwilling landowners’ property with eminent domain.

The pipeline company is required by the IUB to have a $250,000 surety bond. With just one spill lasting one hour, roughly 1 million gallons of toxic crude could flow into our tile system (300 per mile in Story County, some as close as two feet from the pipeline), draining from there into our aquifers and rivers and poisoning our drinking water.

If you think cleaning up nitrates is expensive, wait till it’s oil. Consider the California spill: costs have reached $92 million for unfinished cleanup after a mere 2,500 gallons of crude were spilled. The Mayflower spill in Arkansas caused $57.5 million in costs due to the spill of 134,000 gallons.

The pipeline safety will be monitored electronically from Sugarland, Texas, and will have a once a week flyover. Does this make you feel safe?

Mark Edwards,


  1. There is always a risk that something can or will fail. I believe, however, that the Alaska pipeline has been rather successful for the distance that it spans. When it comes to the oil refining industry, before you look at the what ifs, you need to look at the what is. Oil used to be located by drilling and if the drilling was successful, then it was pumped into tanks. Now they use a method called “fracking.” This technology incorporates a boring drill that can move lateral in its drilling process to cover a wider area. Once the drill is removed, a high-pressure line is introduced to this hole, and a very toxic fluid is used under high pressure to cause underground rock and soil to separate. This is what I find unsettling. The water tables are knowingly being contaminated. So am I concerned by the off chance that a spill from a monitored pipeline will occur? Not as much as knowing that citizens to the north are being poisoned.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.