The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) voted Thursday to approve issuing a hazardous pipeline permit to Texas-based Dakota Access LLC for construction of the Bakken Pipeline.
The board made its decision after holding 12 days of public hearings and receiving testimony from nearly 70 witnesses.
Dakota Access plans to bury the 346 miles of crude oil pipeline under Iowa farmland. The 2.5-foot diameter pipe will carry a half-million barrels of oil per day from North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois.
Environmental and property rights groups opposed the project. Supporters of the project say it will create jobs and protect the environment.
Iowa Sierra Club President Wally Taylor said an appeal for an injunction must be filed within 30 days of the project’s approval. Taylor said the decision granting a private, for-profit company the power of eminent domain to use against property owners unwilling to sell is unprecedented.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a joint statement Thursday, thanking the IUB for its “thorough, thoughtful and transparent process.” They noted the board “allowed many different stakeholders to voice their opinions.”