Dakota Access Pipeline Poor Construction Practices Angering Iowa Landowners

November 7, 2016

A landowner grew so frustrated with Dakota Access Pipeline workers that she delivered a garbage bag to county supervisors full of metal debris collected from her fields. A northwest Iowa rancher was so fed up from his cattle repeatedly escaping that he mailed a bill to the pipeline company for the costs of constantly chasing his animals.

The Des Moines Register reports that landowners in Boone County, Iowa have asked county supervisors to help with damage and debris left behind by the Dakota Access LLC construction crews. Landowners who have attempted to get Dakota Access to work with them on issues including left-behind 30-inch steel rings and unauthorized water being pumped onto private crop fields. Residents are concerned that buried debris from the pipeline construction will destroy their farm equipment during use.

Other complaints in the state say the construction crews have torn up drainage tiles, destroyed farmland by driving vehicles over too-wet fields, and burning cut trees meant to be sold for firewood.

The Des Moines Register says the landowners also feel the county inspectors are siding with Dakota Access crews. Landowners must petition county compensation commissions for damages 90 days after work is completed.

All but one of the 18 counties in the path of the pipeline has hired an outside firm to ensure that contractors are following construction rules laid out by the state. Polk County is handling the inspections in-house. Inspectors determine if an issue is a violation or simply a complaint. If the inspector determines the landowner doesn't show a direct violation, no further action can be taken.

"What's the point of filing a petition or complaint with the Iowa Utilities Board if there's no corrective action?" Keokuk County Attorney John Schroeder. "Then they’re left with a civil fine or penalty upon the pipeline. That doesn’t really satisfy anybody."

Video and image: Des Moines Register