The following letter to the editor written by Angie Carter was originally published in the Ames Tribune on January 27th, 2015 and can be found at http://amestrib.com/opinion/letter-proposed-bakken-pipeline-poses-risk-iowa-s-water.
Letter: Proposed Bakken pipeline poses risks to Iowa’s water
Our local and state leaders should watch the recent oil spill in the Yellowstone River very closely. The proposed Iowa Bakken pipeline will be six times larger than the Bridger pipeline that spilled 40,000 tons of crude Bakken oil into the Yellowstone River on Jan. 17. Benzene, a cancer-causing agent, has polluted local water supplies in Montana.
Despite federal rules, 50 feet of the Bridger pipeline were exposed in the riverbed near the break. In 2011, the pipeline was confirmed to be 8 feet below the river, meaning it only took a little over four years for changes in the riverbed to expose the pipeline. A 2011 Exxon Mobil pipeline spill in the Yellowstone River near Billings was similarly near an area of pipeline exposed in the riverbed.
Two spills in the past four years in the Yellowstone River provide all the evidence we need to say no to this proposed Bakken pipeline in Iowa. Floods and other natural forces can expose pipelines. In Ames, we know well that our rivers are prone to more frequent and severe flooding. The Bakken pipeline would carry crude oil through our major watersheds, including the North Raccoon River, Des Moines River, South Skunk River and Mississippi River.
What can stop this pipeline from being built? File an objection with the Iowa Utilities Board. Write letters to our city, county and state leaders. Support the landowners along the route who are standing up for the health of our state’s soil and water. All the risk and all the burden of the proposed Bakken pipeline are placed upon our local communities and farmers. Iowa is a renewable energy leader. We don’t need an oil pipeline. Wind energy provides all the economic impacts without the well-documented risks of a crude oil pipeline.