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Pipeline Protesters Say "This is Not a Done Deal"

Michael Leland/IPR
Pipeline protesters gathered outside the federal building in Des Moines Tuesday, and in three other Iowa cities.

Opponents of the 1,200 mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline held protests in Iowa and throughout the country today, in hopes that President Obama will shut down the project. 

At a midday rally outside the federal building in downtown Des Moines, Heather Pearson, a landowner in western Iowa, urged dozens of protesters to stay involved in the campaign against the project.

“We need to hold our elected officials responsible about the decisions they’re making about our water and our air and our soil and our climate,” she said.  “We need to hold them accountable and the only way to do that is this right here!  We need more people to join us on our direct action.”

Many of the protesters planned to drive to Omaha for a larger gathering later Tuesday afternoon.

Matt Ohloff, an organizer with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, said although most of the pipeline project has been completed, it can still be stopped.

“This is not a done deal,” he said. “There’s one permit left under the Army Corps of Engineers, under Lake Oahe, under the Missouri River, north of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.”

That site in North Dakota has been the focal point of protests against the project. The Standing Rock Sioux says the pipeline could threaten their drinking water and cultural sites.  On Monday, the Army Corps of Engineers said it needed more time to study the issue and get more input from the tribe.  Today the pipeline company, Energy Transfer, asked a federal court to allow it to continue construction in the area. 

Michael Leland is IPR's News Director