Bakken Oil Pipeline Will Run Underneath Sacred Tribal Grounds in Iowa

Dakota Access Pipeline (Bakken Oil Pipeline) Map By Dakota Access LLC [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Iowa state officials have approved construction of the Dakota Access Bakken oil pipeline to run underneath a sacred American Indian burial ground in northwest Iowa, despite opposition from tribal officials.

Texas-based Dakota Access, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer, has been granted an amendment to its sovereign lands construction permit by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Instead of digging a trench for a pipeline route through the Big Sioux River Wildlife Management Area in Lyon County, the pipeline will run 85 feet underground using special boring equipment.

The pipeline project has caused increasing opposition from several Sioux communities and tribes due to its proposed route to run through an area of “rich historical and cultural significance." A stop-work order on the project had originally been put in place in May to halt construction on lands that the Sioux Indians had ceded to the federal government through a treaty signed in 1851.

Although Iowa state officials lifted the stop-work order on the Bakken oil pipeline, tribal officials believe several landowners, tribes, and other citizens will stand against the pipeline construction and make sure it does not get built.

The Iowa section of the Bakken oil pipeline has approval from the state but still waits for permits from the Army Corps of Engineers in order to go forward with construction.

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Des Moines Register