Iowa CCI Calls “Foul” on Confidential and Expedited Treatment for Bakken Pipeline

Iowans are feeling more than “March Madness” at being kept in the dark on conditions of permitting process

Today, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) members blasted Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Texas oil giant Energy Transfer Partners, for filing motions with the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) requesting expedited and confidential treatment to immediately begin construction on the controversial Bakken Pipeline. Iowa CCI members call this an outrageous attempt by Dakota Access to circumvent the rule of law and keep the people of Iowa in the dark.

Iowa CCI is calling on the Iowa Utilities Board to do the right thing and deny Dakota Access any expedited treatment and demand that they open all records to the public.

Dakota Access must prove that they and their parent companies can make “unconditional and irrevocable guarantees” to Iowans that they will be covered when there is an oil spill.

Dakota Access claims that they have a $25,000,000 insurance policy and that their parent companies will be able to pay any costs beyond that, but they are unwilling to show the public their proof.

“For us to be denied access to this financial guarantee for our state is further evidence of this fatally flawed process. Keeping this guarantee confidential tells me this is a ponzi scheme and we Iowans are being taken,” said Carolyn Raffensperger from the Science and Environmental Health Network. She also added that, “By requesting that their records be kept confidential, Dakota Access is denying Iowans the right to hold the company accountable.”

By its own admission, Dakota Access may not have financial resources to pay for cleanup, respond to spills or otherwise comply with environmental laws.  It says on page 44-45 of Energy Transfer Partner’s 2014 annual report, which is Dakota Access Exhibit DRD-2 “We may incur substantial environmental costs and liabilities because of the underlying risk inherent to our operations. Although we have established financial reserves for our estimated environmental remediation liabilities, additional contamination or conditions may be discovered, resulting in increased remediation costs, liabilities for natural resource damages that could substantially increase our costs for site remediation projects. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that our current reserves are adequate to cover all future liabilities, even for currently known contamination.” This statement clearly violates the IUB’s condition for a permit.

“There are plenty of examples of oil spills costing billions of dollars to clean up. The fact that ETP wants to keep their paltry $25,000,000 insurance policy confidential is extremely troubling. This leaves all Iowans unprotected,” said Ross Grooters, Iowa CCI member and union train engineer. He also added that, “We have said from the start that every aspect of the Bakken pipeline permitting process must be open to the public.”

 “Dakota Access keeping Iowans in the dark is proof that they only have their own self-interest and profits in mind. This pipeline is not a done deal. We are going to keep fighting for a clean energy Iowa,” said Adam Mason, State Policy Organizing Director at Iowa CCI.

 

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