Dakota Access disputes archaeologist over tribal land
DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Texas oil company is challenging the findings and authority of Iowa's state archaeologist, who recommended the company reroute its Bakken oil pipeline to avoid land in northwestern Iowa's Big Sioux River Wildlife Management ...
DES MOINES, Iowa - A Texas oil company is challenging the findings and authority of Iowa’s state archaeologist, who recommended the company reroute its Bakken oil pipeline to avoid land in northwestern Iowa’s Big Sioux River Wildlife Management Area where native tribes contend an ancient sacred burial ground exists.
Lisa Dillinger, a spokeswoman for pipeline developer Dakota Access, a division of Energy Transfer Partners, said in an email that State Archaeologist John Doershuk has jurisdiction only if human remains older than 150 years are found. And if such a discovery is made, jurisdiction extends only to overseeing relocation and handling of historic remains, she said.
“If something is confirmed in the area, we will make any necessary adjustments and continue on,” Dillinger said. “Energy Transfer respects and honors all areas of cultural significance and takes great care in these types of situations to mitigate any impact.”
The Iowa Utilities Board, which is the main regulator for the 346 miles of pipeline through 18 counties in Iowa, signed an order Tuesday allowing Dakota Access to begin construction on land where voluntary easements and permission have been secured, which is the vast majority of the Iowa route.
Board Chairwoman Geri Huser dissented, stating that allowing construction now “affects the terms and conditions of the permit that is currently subject to judicial review proceedings;” that the board lacks jurisdiction due to the lawsuits; and that Dakota Access failed to meet conditions agreed to in its permit approved by the board March 10.