Authorities block Bakken pipeline on sacred Indian land in northwest Iowa


Pipes to form a pipeline in Williston, North Dakota (Lindsey G / Flickr)
Pipes to form a pipeline in Williston, North Dakota (Lindsey G / Flickr)
KC McGinnis | May 27, 2016

A section of the proposed Bakken oil pipeline in northwest Iowa has been blocked because of the historic and spiritual significance of the land to Sioux tribal members, according to The Des Moines Register.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has revoked the permit issued to Dakota Access LLC, the Texas-based company attempting to build a controversial oil pipeline from North Dakota and through the state of Iowa, to build and work in parts of Lyon county in northwest Iowa. Authorities from the Upper Sioux tribe reported that a portion of the pipeline planned for that area was to go straight through Indian grave sites.

The revoked permit will lead to a significant setback for the pipeline planners, who had hoped to finish gathering the necessary permits by mid-June. Dakota Access has already begun work on areas of the pipeline where it is currently permitted, despite not having the necessary forms in hand for the entirety of the route.

The setbacks come after more than a year of controversy over the Bakken pipeline in Iowa, which has been met with opposition from both environmentalists and farmers. Environmentalists are concerned that the pipeline will expand Americans’ dependence on fossil fuels at a time when divestment is necessary, and farmers are concerned the pipeline could interfere with drainage systems built to address runoff. A pipeline leak in January 2015 spilled 50,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana, contaminating nearby water supplies.

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