Pipeline opponents to launch Des Moines River protest flotilla

Opponents of the Bakken oil pipeline will gather in Pilot Mound, Iowa, Saturday, June 25 at 10 a.m. for a flotilla.

The June 25 flotilla will paddle about 4.4 miles south from the Norton's Ford Access on the Des Moines River to the spot where the Bakken Pipeline will pass under the river.
The June 25 flotilla will paddle about 4.4 miles south from the Norton’s Ford Access on the Des Moines River to the spot where the Bakken Pipeline will pass under the river.

Opponents of the Bakken oil pipeline plan to launch a canoe and kayak flotilla to protest last week’s Iowa Utilities Board approval of the project and to raise citizens’ awareness of the environmental risks entailed by the project.

The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition will hold a press conference Saturday, June 25 at 11 a.m. at the Norton’s Ford Access boat ramp on the Des Moines River, about two miles northeast of Pilot Mound in northern Boone County.

The flotilla will last from noon until 2 p.m. and will paddle about 1.5 miles south of Norton’s Ford Access, along the section of the river where Dakota Access wants to construct the underground pipeline, also known as the Dakota Access Pipeline.

After the flotilla, supporters will meet for food, music and fellowship at the Pilot Mound Community Center beginning at 3 p.m. For more information on the flotilla, visit the group’s Facebook page.

“This is a family event, and everyone is welcome to join us for all or part of the day,” said a spokesperson for the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition. “We will have plenty of canoes available for our morning flotilla. Additionally, we welcome volunteers and non-paddlers to join us in the morning to cheer on the paddlers, take photos and help with banners.”

The Iowa Utilities Board’s action authorized Texas-based Dakota Access LLC to begin construction of the $3.8 billion underground pipeline on lands outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is still considering issuing permits for the water crossings.

The anti-pipeline groups is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a comprehensive environmental impact study on the proposed Bakken fracked-oil pipeline and to deny the pipeline permit.

“Now that the Iowa Utilities Board has rendered its indefensible decision to approve the pipeline and perpetually endanger our water, soil and climate and strip landowners of their rights, the Army Corps is our one best chances to stop the project,” said the spokesperson for the project’s opponents.

The pipeline would pass through 18 Iowa counties, including passing under both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, in its passage from oil fields in North Dakota to a transport hub in Illinois.

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The Iowa Utilities Board approved March 10 construction of the Bakken pipeline, which will cross 18 Iowa counties. Source: Dakota Access LLC
The Iowa Utilities Board approved construction of the Bakken pipeline June 6. The pipeline would cross 18 Iowa counties. Source: Dakota Access LLC

dsm river map


  1. Here is why the pipeline will eventually fail. Metal pipe, unarmored and exposed to Iowa’s complex soil microbes and minerals, will elicit a weak electric current between charged soil particles (called ions) and the metal piping. The electrical current will wear out the metal and create small holes and fissures. Small failures become larger over time.

    The Mississippi River watershed is the largest river system in the country. Much is at risk, including drinking water, human health and wildlife species not lucky enough to have water treatment systems equal to the Des Moines Waterworks.

    Equally evil is the wholesale decadence of Terry Branstad’s successive administrations, starting in the 1980s, when he and his handlers deconstructed family-based pork producers in favor of huge operations that pollute water, rob our children’s quality of life and threaten the wildlife legacy of Iowa.

    The epitome of the Branstad years is that now NO ONE is safe in their home. With the support of state government through the governor’s DNR, Eminent Domain was granted so that a for-profit, out-of-state company could take private property, including prime farmland, with no recourse for the current owners. Previously, Eminent Domain was used to secure land for highways, bridges, parks, schools and libraries — infrastructure that was considered to be “for the greater good.” Now, with one swoop of the pen and putting the right people on the Iowa Utilities Board, Branstad accomplished an act of war on the people of Iowa, with never a look back at what he has done. He and his supporters presume that their wealth will insulate them.

    Branstad enjoys a protected life in his gated community near Lake Panorama. He can afford bottled water, and he hunts on private preserves of friends who, by the way, must carry water for their hunting hounds lest the toxic surface waters ruin their livers.

  2. ​At the current proposed pumping rate, one spill could dump 1 million gallons per hour into our tile systems or water bodies. For example, Story County has roughly 200-300 tile lines per mile. The pipeline will be monitored electronically from Sugarland Texas or by flyovers once every 10 days. Most spills are discovered by local landowners when lakes of toxic crude show up in the fields. It will take this private, out-of-state company hours to turn the pipe off, and even then it will leak what is in the pipe. This will make the nitrate problem seem insignificant.
    I’m not sure why this isn’t a bigger concern because if it happens on the Des Moines River, the city will be living on bottled water while they pack up to move. The corruption in getting this pipeline pushed through has been unbelievable. To declare this private corporation as a public utility is criminal as this toxic crude will be shipped directly overseas. Giving this corporation the right to take private land to build this is also criminal.


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