DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Texas company wants to build a 1,100-mile pipeline that would cut diagonally across Iowa from northwest to southeast and carry millions of gallons of crude oil a day extracted from western North Dakota's oil fields.
Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP said the proposed 30-inch diameter pipeline would initially have the capacity to carry 13 million gallons daily but that could be increased. The company said in a statement it is a cost-effective and environmentally responsible way to reduce the reliance on truck and rail transportation.
The company said wants to have the pipeline in service by the end of 2016. Its board has approved the pipeline, and the company has begun ordering steel and negotiating construction contracts.
The Iowa Utilities Board, which has regulatory oversight of pipeline projects, has not yet received the required petitions from the company. Those are necessary to begin a formal permit review process, spokesman Rob Hillesland said.
Crude oil pipeline construction in Iowa is regulated by a section of the Iowa Code that requires the company to hold informational meetings in each affected county at least 30 days before filing a petition seeking a permit.
A map of the pipeline proposal shows it would begin in western North Dakota, head southeast through South Dakota and enter the northwest corner of Iowa. It would cross 17 Iowa counties passing near Sioux Center and Storm Lake and cutting between Ames and Ankeny and toward Keokuk in the state's southeast corner. After leaving Iowa, it crosses the Mississippi River and ends in Patoka, Illinois, about 70 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri.
The company said it also plans to convert an existing natural gas pipeline at Patoka to carry crude oil to a Gulf Coast terminal in Texas.
Environmental groups stated their opposition to the new plan on Thursday.
"Any attempt to build an oil and natural gas pipeline in Iowa will be met with resistance," said Garry Larsen, a farmer from Exira and member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, which focuses on social and environmental issues. He opposes the use of fossil fuels that "threatening the air, water, and land of thousands of everyday Iowans just so a few energy corporations can profit."
Wally Taylor, an attorney with the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club, an environmental group, said questions must be answered about environmental impact to farms, natural areas and water resources.
"I think the overarching concern is that it is another factor keeping us from moving to a sustainable and clean energy future. It continues to rely on oil and we need to get beyond that," he said.
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