Opponents of the Keystone XL and Bakken pipelines hold signs in January 2015, on the Third Avenue Bridge in downtown Cedar Rapids. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Opponents of the Keystone XL and Bakken pipelines hold signs in January 2015, on the Third Avenue Bridge in downtown Cedar Rapids. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The Iowa Utilities Board heard comments about the proposed Bakken pipeline that would run diagonally through Iowa; now it’s the Department of Natural Resources’ turn.

Public comments can be made during the upcoming DNR meeting from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 16, 2015, in Des Moines.

The pipeline would cut through 18 counties in Iowa and Gov. Terry Branstad has said he might support eminent domain if farmers and other landowners are opposed.

An overwhelming majority of speakers at last month’s Iowa Utilities Board hearing who favor the pipeline were from out-of-state, while those opposed were mostly Iowans. The board has yet to decide on the pipeline application.

The portion in front of the DNR is related to public lands, including rivers and wetlands where the pipeline would cross.

Read more about the meeting from the DNR:

DES MOINES – The public is invited to provide comments on a permit needed by the Dakota Access Pipeline Project to cross publicly-owned land and water under jurisdiction of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Wallace State Office Building, 502 E. Ninth St., in Des Moines.

Dakota Access LLC, in coordination with Burns and McDonnel Engineering Co., Inc. has requested authorization to install the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline Project across sovereign (publicly-owned) lands and waters. The proposed crossings are the Big Sioux River and the Nelson Tract of the Big Sioux River Complex Wildlife Management Area in Lyon County, the Des Moines River in Boone County and the Mississippi River in Lee County. All four of these crossings will be considered in a single permit.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reviewing the permit application and expects to make a decision later this winter. The public input will be considered in conjunction with other information collected when acting on the permit application.

The DNR will provide a brief overview of the permit application and permitting process prior to taking comments from the public. Citizens wishing to make comments will be asked to sign-in at the beginning of the meeting.

In addition to providing comment at the Dec. 16 meeting, comments can be made until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 by email at SLER@dnr.iowa.gov; or by sending written comments to:

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Sovereign Lands Construction Permit Program
502 E. Ninth St.
Des Moines, IA 50319

A copy of the permit application can be found at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/files/dakota_access1.pdf. The information pertaining to this permit application can be found on pages 4-5, and pages 100-145. Additional information on the sovereign land permitting process can be found at: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Land-Quality/Sovereign-Lands-Permits

“One of the most important functions we have at DNR is to oversee public land entrusted to us for management. I believe it is very important for us to hear public comment while we consider this permit application,” said DNR Director Chuck Gipp.

Gipp said that it is important that citizens focus comments on the permit needed for the pipeline to cross public land and water and not about the project as a whole.

“The permit we need to consider is focused on a very small part of this overall project and the comments we receive from the public should be about the permit. Our role is to evaluate the potential impact this project could have on the affected public property when considering this permit application,” said Gipp.