As the regulatory agencies of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois proceed with their reviews of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the MAIN Coalition has submitted a letter on behalf of its members outlining the numerous benefits the project would bring to the respective states and the region.
In a letter addressed to the four regulatory agencies responsible with conducting the exhaustive review process, I urged commissioners to look at the existing body of evidence with regards to pipelines and consider the economic benefits of the project:
"This project will provide our local economies a much needed positive boost. The construction alone will create thousands of jobs for American workers who will spend money and support local services during construction. Counties along the route will also receive ongoing property tax revenue for schools, services, and infrastructure creating a vibrant local economy. Everyone from the local banker all the way down to the smallest mom-and-pop shop is impacted when real money is injected into the economy."
I also touched upon the benefits the project would bring to the region's farmers by easing the demand for crude-by-rail (CBR) shipments:
American agriculture is highly dependent on petroleum development. The simple fact is that the less oil we process domestically, the more we will have to import from foreign countries. That drives up energy prices for farmers who need gasoline and diesel for the majority of their farm equipment. Those costs, which impact a farmer's bottom line, are then passed along to the consumer and cause higher food prices both here in the Midwest and in cities throughout the country. The Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now believes that pipelines are an answer to climbing energy prices, as well as the transport issues that plague the agricultural sector as a result of oil trains.
According to a recent American Farm Bureau Federation study, the region's farmers suffered more than half a billion dollars in losses in 2014 as a result of congestion of the region's railway network.
The MAIN Coalition brings together a wide spectrum of industries and stakeholders who believe that this project will benefit not only our members and employees, but the entire Midwest.
We support a vigorous review process of the facts and are confident that the commissioners reviewing the applications will eschew hollow rhetoric, and allow the process to arrive at the decision that helps support the region's economy and nation's energy security.
MAIN is a partnership of entities from agriculture, business, and labor sectors aimed at supporting the economic development and energy security benefits associated with infrastructure projects in the Midwest. MAIN is a project of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council and boasts nearly 50 members across four states
* Editor's note: Ed Wiederstein is also a past resident of the Iowa Farm Bureau.