Iowa Pipeline Walk: Day 13

Saturday, March 14, 2015 – Mahaska/Jasper County line
{For the latest Iowa Pipeline Walk route and schedule detail, click here.}

Today marks 150 miles of walking as I step into the seventh county along the pipeline route. A heartfelt “Thank you!” to State Rep. Dan Kelley and Kathy Holdefer (a landowner near Mingo), who each organized a meeting today with landowners and other concerned Jasper County residents.

At a 7:00 a.m. meeting at Uncle Nancy’s on the Newton town square, Dan spoke about his strong opposition to the pipeline. He has introduced legislation and also signed a letter from 15 lawmakers to the Iowa Utilities Board calling for an environmental impact assessment.

Today, Dan surprised me with a new angle that throws a whole new wrinkle into the pipeline conversation.

Apparently, no one had ever asked the Iowa Utilities Board’s staff if there already existed in Iowa another oil pipeline. Dan asked, and was told that there was, indeed, one other crude oil pipeline running through Iowa.

This pipeline travels north-south, roughly following I-35. It was built in the 1950s and is now owned by the infamous Koch Brothers. It was mothballed in 2013.

“I don’t want an oil pipeline running through Iowa,” said Dan. “But if Dakota Access wants to build one, why tear-up farmland diagonally across Iowa when there’s already an established right of way?”

This begs so many additional questions. Where did the oil transported through this pipeline come from? What was its final destination? Who were the original owners? How long have the Koch Brothers owned it? Were there ever any leaks or accidents? How many gallons a day did it move? Why was it abandoned in 2013? Why hasn’t Dakota Access considered using this route?

Dan and I will talk about this on today’s Fallon Forum at 11:00. Also, State Rep. John Forbes joins Dan to talk about industrial hemp. What would it do for Iowa’s economy? And find out why John feels industrial hemp is also good for the environment.

The Fallon Forum airs Monday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CST on KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) or online. Join the conversation by calling (515) 528-8122. You also can hear the Fallon Forum on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday and on KPVL 89.1 FM (Postville) at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Thanks! – Ed Fallon