Thursday, August 25, 2016

Farmers say Dakota Access Pipeline damaging soil; judge to rule by Sept. 9 on N.D. tribe complaints

Farmers say crews working on the Dakota Access Pipeline are disturbing their rich black soil, leading to concern about the future of corn and soybean crops, Kevin Hardy reports for The Des Moines Register. While these landowners can't do much, since they have been paid for the company to cross their land, they are hoping to make other farmers aware of the risks of accepting an easement. (Hardy photo: Various soil colors are visible in a pit dug to house the Dakota Access pipeline on Francis Goebel's property in Granville, Iowa)

"Dakota Access is required to follow soil guidelines in Iowa law and the Agricultural Impact Mitigation Plan, which was approved by the Iowa Utilities Board," Hardy writes. "But the plan stipulates only that the topsoil be segregated. Some landowners negotiated further provisions, such as separating three layers of soil, rather than two. But not all farmers knew to ask for such an arrangement."

Dakota Access attorney Bret Dublinski said "that all the contested farms already had tile buried under crops to help drain fields," Hardy writes. Dublinski, who said "It is often removed, repaired and replaced," told Hardy, "You cannot consistently argue both that Dakota Access is going to irreparably harm my soil because it hasn’t been changed in 1,000 years and then also say 'I'm concerned about my pattern tile that I put in by turning up the soil.' Those are arguments that simply cannot exist in the same space."

A protest by Native Americans that Dakota Access could damage the Missouri River, the main source of water for local tribes, has halted construction around Cannon Ball, N.D. A federal judge said Wednesday that by Sept. 9 he would rule "on the injunction filed by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to attorneys representing the tribe," Jessica Holdman reports for the Bismarck Tribune. The tribe has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, "alleging violation of the National Historic Preservation Act during the pipeline permitting process."

Construction on the pipeline continues "at other locations in North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, and the project is still expected to be completed by the end of the year," Holdman writes. "According to court documents filed Aug. 18 by Dakota Access Pipeline, the project is about 45 percent complete."

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