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Iowans protest Bakken pipeline on South Skunk River

Published: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 10:41 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 11:17 a.m. CDT

On Saturday, Iowans came together in Oskaloosa to protest the proposed Bakken pipeline.

Seventh-generation landowner Sylvia Rodgers Spalding and members of the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition — a statewide group of 30 organizations united to stop the construction of the Bakken pipeline — led the day of action and awareness-building.

“The South Skunk River has been a part of our family legacy since 1842. I am worried that the pipeline could impact the floodplain, woodlands and creek on our property, which borders the pipeline’s route. I am also concerned that the carbon pollution from the billions of gallons of oil from this pipeline would create further hardship for the Pacific Islanders, Alaskan natives, people of India and others who are already contending with sea level, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, droughts, extreme weather, heat waves, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and human and species migration attributed to climate change,” Spalding said.

At 9 a.m., the group launched a flotilla of kayaks and canoes along the South Skunk River at alleged risk of the pipeline’s crossing, floating past the pipeline’s proposed path bordering Spalding’s family’s land. Members of the group then read from their contributions to “Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America” and lead an information session at the Book Vault in downtown Oskaloosa.

Angie Carter, one of the authors reading from Fracture, said “Our land, our water, our soil, and our health are not for sale. I’m here today in solidarity with Iowa’s landowners standing up to Big Oil. The pipeline is not a done deal and it’s on us, as Iowans who value their communities and their land, to stop it.”

The events kicked off the Coalition’s “Summer of Resistance,” featuring upcoming events across the state organized by community groups and landowners. The next flotilla will be June 25 near Boone where the Bakken pipeline is proposed to cross the Des Moines River. The group called upon the U.S. Army Corps to require a full environmental impact statement and to reject the permit for construction. In addition, they stressed the risk the pipeline poses to environmental and public health, especially water, and the abuse of eminent domain.

The Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition is a growing grassroots coalition of landowners, community members, nonprofit organizations, and interest groups united to stop the construction of the proposed Bakken Pipeline.