O'Brien County supervisors discuss proposed oil pipeline route
By Robert Lowe, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor - email
A topic that was scheduled to begin at 10:45 Monday morning, broke out nearly two hours early, as board members began discussion over a crude oil pipeline.
Last month, Energy Transfer Partners L.P., a Fortune 500 natural gas and propane company based in Texas, approved building an eleven hundred mile crude oil pipeline.
The pipeline would shoot diagonally across the state-hitting 17 counties in Iowa.
But, O'Brien county officials say they are just hearing about the proposed project.
"We heard about it on Saturday and saw that it comes right through O'Brien County, said Dan Friedrichsen, an O’Brien County Board Supervisor. The pros would be if we can ease our dependence on foreign oil. Now, the next question is any of this oil going to be used domestically?"
Vicki Granado, a Spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Partners L.P., says the pipeline is a key project for American energy independence.
"There is currently not enough infrastructure in the area to get all of the crude out of the Bakkan and into the market,” Granado said.
The pipeline would carry around 320,000 barrels of crude a day from North Dakota's Bakkan oil fields to Pakota, Illinois. It will then connect with the Texas Company’s existing 30-inch diameter pipeline, and eventually transport down to the gulf coast.
But the size of the pipeline raises concern amongst O'Brien County leaders.
"There have been reported leaks,” said Friedrichsen. “I don't know from what companies and so on and specifics, but it all has to be dealt with, and the potential of disaster versus the potential of economic development."
Before the Texas based energy firm can begin the project, it must be approved by the Iowa utilities Board and permits would be required by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Energy Transfer Partners L.P. intends to complete the project by the end of 2016.
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