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Pipeline Meetings Monday in SE Iowa


The public will have opportunities Monday to learn more about a crude oil pipeline that could run through southeast Iowa and west central Illinois.

The Iowa Utilities Board has received a request from Dakota Access, which is a subsidiary of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, for a construction permit.

The IUB requires public meetings be held in each affected county, which in this case is 18 of Iowa's 99 counties. Four of the 18 meetings are scheduled for Monday, Dec. 1, including two in southeast Iowa.

1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.
Comfort Inn & Suites
6169 U.S. 61
Fort Madison, IA 52627

6:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.
River Valley Lodge
29080 Hawk Drive
Farmington, IA 52626

The proposed route passes through the northeast corner of Van Buren County before cutting diagonally across Lee County. It will cross the river somewhere between Keokuk and Fort Madison.

IUB representatives have said these meetings will be for informational purposes only, not public input.

Credit Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio
Tri States Public Radio
Jerry Brewer (standing on the right) organized a recent meeting of opponents of the proposed pipeline through southeast Iowa. The meeting was held in Keokuk.

Jerry Brewer of rural Lee County has a much different take on the meetings.  He is encouraging friends, neighbors, and anyone else to attend and make their voices be heard.

"The more people who come together on this, the more we show solidarity and unity, the stronger we are," said Brewer. 

"Hopefully that will send a message to the oil company that we have no intentions of letting them through here."

Brewer's opposition to the pipeline began when he received a letter that said its path would go right through his home.  He said the route has changed slightly, limiting the impact on his property. But his opposition has not changed because of environmental and ecological concerns.

"We are depleting the natural resources faster than the Earth can replenish them," said Brewer.  "They are going to disappear at some point.  We have to protect the earth because no one else is going to do so."

Brewer has written letters to the editor, contacted state and federal agencies, reached out to organizations such as the Sierra Club and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and organized a meeting in Keokuk that drew about 35 people.

He said the meeting was a success and he hopes to see it continue.

"I hope that we can generate the same amount of energy that was in this room in much the same manner, by disseminating the truth," said Brewer.  "Not, as I referred to it, by BS'ing people (like the oil company is doing) and instead being as honest and forthright as we can."

The permit request was filed with the Iowa Utilities Board on Oct. 29. Since then, just three objections have been submitted to the agency's website.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.