Letter to the Editor

Can't afford to build, won't afford to clean up

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The cavalier insistence that Dakota Access be allowed to start work in advance of meeting the conditions of their permit is par for the course.

Over the past week we've seen Dakota Access push for the approval process to move faster. We've also seen them push for money from counties when our county governments are already footing the bill for engineering surveys across the state. Last week they demanded upgrades to a road that serves no one else's interests. Story County Supervisors pushed back instead of handing over more money to this company that is supposedly enriching Iowa through millions of dollars in property tax revenue on private land (where property taxes were already being paid...).

The company's lack of financial responsibility for their activities is predictable. We should consider ourselves forewarned about their ability to take responsibility in the event of a spill. When they tell us they can't afford to follow the process to build, how can we believe that they can afford to clean up? Public trust should trump "industry secrets" when it comes to clearly identify their ability to pay.

Iowans did NOT ask Dakota Access to preemptively stockpile materials and begin construction in advance of completed permits. The company gambled on whether or not all of the required permits would be in order to meet their internal timeline. Now they're clearing for construction and demanding that what little oversight has been required be pushed aside. Iowans are supposed to feel bad that farmers who are fighting to save their land from eminent domain condemnation are costing the company millions of dollars a day? I don't think so.

No one asked Dakota Access to jump the gun on construction. Their gamble is NOT our responsibility and only time will tell if Iowa leaders will put us on the hook.