Dakota Access Lawyer Says Company Needs Road Improvements for Project It Denies Involvement In

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On left, highlighted, is the parcel owned by Consumers Energy Cooperative in rural Story County between Huxley and Cambridge. On right is the larger surrounding parcel still owned by Dakota Access. Images: Beacon

On Tuesday, Bret Dublinske, a Des Moines attorney working for Dakota Access LLC on its Bakken pipeline project, was in attendance at the Story County Board of Supervisors’ weekly meeting to argue that the county should allow road improvements near an electrical substation that the company has denied involvement in but that is being built for a pipeline pumping station Dakota Access plans to build on an adjacent parcel. The Ames Tribune reported:

Despite the fact Dakota Access has denied involvement in the Story County project, Dublinske was in attendance Tuesday to argue, on behalf of Dakota Access, for [the Central Iowa Power Cooperative] to be given control of the road. During that conversation, Dublinske said, “There are some maintenance issues with the county and the condition of the road. It’s not suitable for the projects that CIPCO or Dakota Access are working on at the moment.”

Among the work that is being delayed is the electrical substation, according to County Engineer Darren Moon.

Moon said that because of the condition of the road, the companies cannot get heavy equipment up the road to complete the project. Moon and Supervisor Rick Sanders agreed that is not the problem of the county and it is up to the companies to find a solution. Sanders said Moon should keep an eye on the road “[a]nd make sure we don’t get a mysterious load of rock or something out there.”

Later in the meeting, the Tribune reported, the supervisors agreed to decide whether to cede control of the road at a later date and prevent CIPCO from making any improvements to it in the meantime. Opponents of the pipeline want the county to maintain control of the road, hoping it might trip up the project.

Despite the fact that Dakota Access recently transferred ownership of the parcel of land on which the electrical substation is being built, and that the company still owns a larger surrounding parcel that is along the pipeline’s proposed route, company spokeswoman Vicki Granado told the Informer on Wednesday: “We have not undertaken the building of any electrical substation on any parcel. The permit granted by the IUB is for the Dakota Access Pipeline. There is no electrical substation that is part of our project scope as defined in the docket presented to the IUB. No pipeline construction activities have begun in Iowa.”

In a response to an Iowa Utilities Board request for more information about the construction, Dublinske on Monday responded to the board also denying that Dakota Access was involved, saying that “the assertion that Dakota Access, a pipeline company, may be building an electrical substation is plainly false. Dakota Access is not in the business of, and has not undertaken the building of any electrical substation on any parcel.” The inquiry arose from an email from a CIPCO spokeswoman that Gilbert resident Linda Murken earlier sent the IUB. In the email, the spokeswoman confirmed that the electrical substation was being built for Dakota Access’ pumping station.

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Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.