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October 07, 2014 05:55 PM

Dakota Access Seeking Public Input On Proposed Pipeline

Sioux Falls, SD

A plan to bring North Dakota oil south passes right through KELOLAND. The proposed Dakota Access pipeline would cut through more than a dozen counties in South Dakota and Iowa before ending in Illinois.

Landowners first heard of the 1,100-mile pipeline through letters they received this summer. Now Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners wants public input on the $3.7 billion project, which would carry oil from North Dakota.

"We need additional infrastructure there to be able to safely transport all of that crude out and get some of it off of those railcars that is causing shortages for other industries. If approved, this project will allow us to do that," project spokeswoman Vicki Granado said.

Granado says that, on average, the North Dakota oil fields produce 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day. The new pipeline could transport nearly half of that to an existing system in Illinois.

"We still are working on getting the state-by-state approval in order to build this pipeline, and that's what we are in the process of working toward now. So, realistically, we won't, pending approval of course, we won't see any construction until later in 2015," Granado said.

Granado says there is a financial incentive for moving the project forward.  She says during construction, the company will be paying an estimated $14 million in taxes, plus an additional $12.3 million per year once the project is done. There will also be 2,000 to 4,000 new construction jobs in South Dakota and while Granado says the company's first priority is to hire locally for those jobs, it isn't a guarantee.

"We like to be a business partner and a community partner in the communities in which we're doing business, so we hire locally when we can and if there's specialized technical positions that we can't fill locally then we look beyond at that point," Granado said.

Project leaders with Dakota Access want to answer all of your questions about the pipeline.  Thursday's open house is at the Morningside Community Center in Sioux Falls from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The meeting open to the public.

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