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Dakota Access Can Start Pipeline Construction

Dakota Access
Bakken Pipeline route across Iowa.

Dakota Access can soon begin construction on a crude oil pipeline that will cut through 18 Iowa counties.

In a two-to-one vote, Iowa Utilities Board gave the OK to start construction.

That's despite the fact Dakota Access is waiting for project approval from the Army Corps of Engineers on 65 sites along the Iowa route.

Initially, pipeline construction was barred until Dakota Access had obtained all necessary state and federal permits. But the utilities board now says construction can begin in areas where Dakota Access has received approval since the Army Corps of Engineers is expected to sign off on most of the sites next week.

Construction can begin after the board reviews and signs the official order.

Credit Kay Henderson/Radio Iowa
Protesters gathered outside the Iowa Capitol this afternoon in opposition to the pipeline.

Outside the state capitol, several dozen demonstrators gathered to express opposition to the pipeline. They're calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny the permits Dakota Access needs to route the pipeline across water.  They called the Utilities Board decision today a "small setback", and say there are other ways to stop the project. 

Some information for this story was provided by Radio Iowa.