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Iowa rejects calls to reconsider pipeline

DES MOINES -- State regulators on Thursday rejected an environmental group and several landowners' requests for a rehearing or reconsideration of an interstate crude oil pipeline through Iowa.

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DES MOINES - State regulators on Thursday rejected an environmental group and several landowners’ requests for a rehearing or reconsideration of an interstate crude oil pipeline through Iowa.

But the Iowa Utilities Board still plans to probe whether a Texas pipeline developer violated terms of its permit and negotiated with landowners in bad faith.

The Sierra Club Iowa Chapter filed a motion that the permit order be “rescinded and no permit should be granted” in the case, in which Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of Texas-based oil company Energy Transfer Partners, was approved in March for a hazardous liquid pipeline permit.

Dakota Access plans to build a 1,168-mile, 30-inch diameter crude oil pipeline from North Dakota oil fields through South Dakota and Iowa to a terminal hub in Illinois.

The Iowa Utilities Board ruled the Sierra Club’s request is based on the “possibility” Dakota Access “commenced construction of the pipeline before issuance of the required permit,” according toThursday’s order.

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“In other words, the motion does not actually allege that Dakota Access has commenced construction; it merely alleges the possibility,” the order states. “The board is considering that allegation separately in this docket.”

The board ordered a complaint proceeding be established for allegations Dakota Access began construction before the issuance of the permit, which could carry a penalty of up to $200,000.

Dakota Access maintains it was doing preconstruction, such as staking the grounds of the pipeline route. Also to be reviewed is a landowner’s complaint of “post-order behavior of Dakota Access with respect to negotiation of voluntary easements.”

The Iowa Utilities Board granted a permit March 10, but several conditions were to be met before the permit was issued April 8. However, the permit prohibits construction from beginning until approval is granted by the Army Corps of Engineers, which may not come until June.

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