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Protesters Say State Utilities Board Has Given Pipeline "A Blank Check"

Sarah Boden/IPR
Protesters gather outside Iowa Utilities Board offices to protest pipeline complaint process.

About 30 protesters gathered outside the Iowa Utilities Board offices on Tuesday morning. They want the IUB to install a Public Liaison Officer, who would address all complaints made about Dakota Access Pipeline construction and enforce the IUB rules.

A formal motion with this request was filed with the IUB jointly by the Science and Environmental Health Network and the Sierra Club’s Iowa chapter, alleging the current complaint process is in effective.

Carolyn Raffensperger, executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, say the IUB has given Dakota Access LLC “a blank check.”  

“If they don’t put into place a method for enforcing their law, I think that shows a callous disregard,” says Raffensperger. “We’re asking that the Iowa Utilities Board actually put in place a way to monitor violations of the law and cure them, fix them. Without that, the law is illegitimate. They cannot take away rights, without also giving responsibilities to those who take it.”

At most Dakota Access may pay a fine, says Raffensperger says, but the company faces no real consequences.  

IUB spokesman Louis Vander Streek said in an email the board will consider the motion for a liaison officer, but adds the IUB already has a process for reviewing complaints. Of the four formal complaints that have been filed, one was dismissed, another resolved, and two grievances are pending.