Bakken pipeline permit yanked over possible sacred burial grounds
ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa --- Federal and state authorities have yanked a construction permit for a segment of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline route to investigate reports it crosses ancient sacred tribal burial grounds in northwestern Iowa. The U.S...
ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa -- Federal and state authorities have yanked a construction permit for a segment of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline route to investigate reports it crosses ancient sacred tribal burial grounds in northwestern Iowa.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service notified the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday it was revoking approval of a Sovereign Lands Construction Permit, which had been issued to pipeline developer Dakota Access on March 3. The permit granted construction, maintenance and operation in lands under U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Iowa DNR jurisdiction.
It was one of several permissions Dakota Access needed for its $3.8 billion Bakken pipeline, which promises to deliver up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day 1,168 miles underground from North Dakota oil fields through South Dakota and Iowa to a distribution hub in Illinois.
A significant archaeological site was identified within the Big Sioux River Wildlife Management Area in Lyon County and “all tree clearing or any ground-disturbing activities within the pipeline corridor pending further investigation” should stop, James B. Hodgson, chief of the agency’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs wrote to Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp.
The Iowa DNR issued a “stop work order” Thursday.
“Because the approval has been revoked, Dakota Access LLC is no longer authorized to engage in any activities pursuant to the permit,” wrote Seth Moore, an environmental specialist at the Iowa DNR.
Spokeswoman Lisa Dillinger for Dakota Access, which is a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, referred to the findings as “rumors” and noted the action has no impact because no work is going on in Iowa.
“If something is confirmed in the area, we will work with the appropriate agencies to make any necessary adjustments,” Dillinger said in an email. “Energy Transfer takes great care in these types of situations and we will do all that is needed to mitigate any impact.”
The swift course change was prompted after State Archaeologist John Doershuk brought forth a concern raised by the Upper Sioux tribe. The tribe studied the land and identified a site with buried human remains, he said.