April 19, 2021

Anti-oil pipeline protest planned to take place in Newton

Environmental protesters are planning a rally in Newton on Thursday, in response to the proposed 1,100 mile oil pipeline that would go through 17 Iowa counties — including Jasper.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is partnering with the Great March for Climate Action to hold the rally from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Uncle Nancy’s Coffeehouse.

Energy Transfer Partners, L.P., based in Dallas, is the company behind the pipeline and the company said the project will help them develop the crude rich areas around the pipeline and help supply markets and refineries along the East and Gulf Coasts.

The plan was met with mixed reaction from Iowa lawmakers, but faced immediate rebuke from environmental organizations. Iowa State Rep. Dan Kelley, D-Iowa, advised farmers to seek legal counsel before making any decisions on selling land.

Organizers with the GMCA and ICCI are hoping the statewide demonstrations will spark a movement to stop the Bakken oil pipeline project. GMCA is a national group that is marching from Los Angeles to New York City to inform Americans on climate issues, and ICCI focuses on grassroots community action against certain public policies.

Support for the rally has crossed state lines and Bold Nebraska founder Jane Kleeb and a Nebraska and Iowa landowner, Tom Genung, will be video-conferenced in.

In addition, GMCA will have two speakers from Iowa; Jeffrey Czerwiec, of Newton and Miriam Kashia, of North Liberty.

“I am marching across the country to sound the alarm that our planet is in serious peril. Building a dangerous Bakken crude oil pipeline does not fit into my vision of a livable future,” Kashia said.

The groups also have protests scheduled for Iowa City and Davenport in the coming weeks.

In order for the pipeline to be constructed, it would have to pass regulatory hurdles with the Iowa Public Utilities Board and public hearings would need to be held in the all of the proposed counties the pipeline would come through.

ETP said that the pipeline would be 30 inches in diameter and be initially capable of producing 320,000 barrels per day of crude if constructed. The 1,100 mile structure would begin in North Dakota and end in Pakota, Ill.

Contact Senior Staff Writer Ty Rushing at (641) 792-3121 ext. 6532 or at trushing@newtondailynews.com.