U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Revokes Sovereign Lands Construction Permit for Bakken Pipeline

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources on Thursday ordered that Dakota Access LLC stop all construction work for its Bakken pipeline in the Big Sioux River Wildlife Management Area after the United States Fish and Wildlife Service the previous day revoked its approval of a construction permit because of the discovery of a significant archaeological site.

“Based on recent information provided by the State Archaeologist, a significant archaeological site (13LO335) was identified within the [Sioux River Wildlife Management Area] and may fall along the proposed path of the Dakota Access Pipeline,” James Hodgson, chief of wildlife and port fish restoration programs with the FWS, wrote Wednesday (see the documents embedded below). “Due to these recent developments the FWS is requesting that the DNR stop all tree clearing or any ground-disturbing activities within the pipeline corridor pending further investigation.”

In response to Hodgson’s letter, Seth Moore, environmental specialist with the Iowa DNR’s Conservation and Recreation Division, wrote Thursday: “This permit was issued for the construction, maintenance and operation of an underground pipeline across the Big Sioux River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). And this permit was conditioned upon approval by the USFWS. Because that approval has been revoked, Dakota Access, LLC is no longer authorized to engage in any activities pursuant to that permit.”

If Dakota Access wishes to regain approval, Moore added, it must first receive the green light from the state archaeologist and FWS.

The Indigenous Environmental Network, which hopes to take advantage of the recent developments to trip up Dakota Access’ construction permit recently granted by the Iowa Utilities Board, has been one of the pipeline’s most outspoken opponents in recent months.

Stay tuned for more information from the Informer about these developments. You can find all of our previous coverage of the Bakken pipeline here.


Gavin Aronsen
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.