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Worth County Spill Fueling Fight Against Dakota Access

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Monday, January 30, 2017   

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Northern Iowa oil pipeline rupture is adding more fuel to the heated argument against construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota.

Cleanup continues on the nearly 140,000 gallons of diesel fuel mix that leaked from the pipeline Wednesday, just one day after President Trump moved to revive the Dakota Access project along with construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Kathy Holdefer of Jasper County said she witnessed the destruction of land when part of the Dakota Access pipeline was laid just a few hundred yards from her backyard. She said she believes the Worth County incident could be a harbinger of things to come with Dakota Access.

"A 30 inch pipeline carrying over half a million barrels of crude oil a day; the immensity of any leak - no matter if it's a few minutes, a few hours or what could be a few days or weeks before it's detected - is insurmountable, insurmountable,” Holdefer said. "It could never be cleaned up."

The president and other supporters of the project contend the pipeline will reduce the demand for crude oil from the Middle East and spur job creation.

The Dakota Access Pipeline will carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois, cutting through 18 Iowa counties. A Polk County district judge is expected to rule soon on a case brought by the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club challenging the use of eminent domain to seize land along the route.

Wally Taylor, legal chair for the Sierra Club’s Iowa Chapter, argued that the risks posed by fossil fuels are just too great not to move toward more clean sources of energy.

"We just really cannot support fossil fuels any longer,” Taylor said. "There are alternatives. I think that the public, the citizens, need to make it clear to the decision makers that we want to get off fossil fuels and get on renewable energy."

Ed Fallon, director at Bold Iowa, added that policymakers need to listen to the voices of concerned citizens.

"The more people see the aspects of this fight,” Fallon said, "the more they agree with us. The president right now is backing big oil. They want this thing badly. They're going to make a ton of money on it. And he's doing this against where I think the trend is, where more and more people are seeing that this is problematic."

Opponents to the projects gathered outside the Neal Smith Federal Building in Des Moines Saturday to rally against their construction.



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